CIA director David Petraeus resigns over extramarital affair
David Petraeus was sworn in as CIA director in September 2011.
November 9th, 2012
07:59 PM ET

CIA director David Petraeus resigns over extramarital affair

Editor's note: Retired Gen. David Petraeus stepped down Friday as head of the Central Intelligence Agency - 14 months after taking the job, days after the presidential election and days before he was to testify before Congress about an attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya that left four Americans dead.

[Updated at 7:59 p.m.] Speaking on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront," Rep. Peter King (R-New York) called Petraeus' resignation "a real loss for the country, a real loss for the CIA."

"We're going to lose the best man for the job, but again America is adaptable," said the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. "Put it this way, anytime you lose a David Petraeus, the country is not as safe as it could be."
[Updated at 7:11 p.m.] The FBI investigated a tip that the woman Petraeus was involved in an extramarital affair with was Paula Broadwell, who co-wrote a biography about him, a U.S. official said.

Broadwell spent a year with Petraeus in Afghanistan, interviewing him for the book "All In: The Education of General David Petraeus."

CNN has not been been able to reach Broadwell for comment. It is not clear if Broadwell is the woman with whom Petraeus had admitting having an affair, leading to his resignation Friday as the head of the CIA.

[Updated at 5:43 p.m.] After getting a tip that Petraeus was involved in an extramarital affair, the FBI launched an investigation to see if this relationship posed a "potential security risk," a U.S. official said. The official added there is no suggestion the FBI was probing Petraeus for any criminal wrongdoing, only because they feared he might be "in a vulnerable spot."

[Updated at 5:40 p.m.] The woman who David Petraeus had an affair with was not a member of the armed forces or the CIA, sources close to Petraeus told HLN's Kyra Phillips. The retired general is extremely disappointed in himself and devastated that he's hurt his family, the sources say.

[Updated at 4:52 p.m.] Acting CIA Director Michael Morrell will testify next week before the Senate Intelligence Committee about the fatal attack in Benghazi instead of David Petraeus, according to the office of that committee's chairwoman, Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

[Updated at 4:25 p.m.] U.S. Sen. John McCain extolled Petraeus as one of "America's greatest military heroes," expressing his gratitude for his "decades of work on behalf of our nation, our military and our security." McCain, an Arizona Republican and the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, added, "His inspirational leadership and his genius were directly responsible - after years of failure - for the success of the surge in Iraq."

[Updated at 3:59 p.m.] Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said, "I wish President Obama had not accepted this resignation, but I understand and respect the decision."

The California Democrat praised Petraeus for giving the CIA "leadership, stature, prestige and credibility both at home and abroad," calling him reliably in "command of intelligence issues" and "especially cooperative with Congress."

[Updated at 3:53 p.m.] The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee praised outgoing CIA Director David Petraeus, saying, "I regret his resignation and wish him and his family the very best."

"Gen. Petraeus is one of America's most outstanding and distinguished military leaders and a true American patriot," said Rep. Peter King, a Republican from New York.

[Updated at 3:41 p.m.] David Petraeus met with President Barack Obama on Thursday, at which time the then CIA director offered his resignation, a senior administration official said. The president then formally accepted Petraeus' resignation in a phone call Friday afternoon, according to the same official.

[Updated at 3:38 p.m.] President Obama said, in a statement, that today he accepted Petraeus' resignation as CIA director.

The president added he is "completely confident that the CIA will continue to thrive and carry out its essential mission," now under the leadership of Acting Director Michael Morrell.

Obama lauded Petraeus for his "extraordinary service to the United States for decades," calling him "one of the outstanding general officers of his generation" and praising his work as CIA director.

The president concluded by saying, "Going forward, my thoughts and prayers are with Dave and Holly Petraeus, who has done so much to help military families through her own work. I wish them the very best in this difficult time." Holly Petraeus led the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office for Servicemembers Affairs.

[Updated at 3:17 p.m.] Shortly before Petraeus' resignation was announced, White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters that "the president thinks Gen. Petraeus has done an excellent job."

When asked about the general's job status, Carney reiterated that President Obama approves of the job done by the CIA director while adding, "I don't have personnel announcements to make from here today."

[Updated at 3:13 p.m.] Petraeus issued a statement announcing his resignation, saying, "After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair.

"Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours. This afternoon, the president graciously accepted my resignation."

[Initial post, 3:08 p.m.] CIA Director David Petraeus submitted his resignation Friday to President Barack Obama, citing personal reasons, a U.S. government source said.

According to the source, Petraeus admitted to having an extramarital affair when he asked to resign.

A retired U.S. Army general who served as the top U.S. commander in Iraq and Afghanistan, Petraeus was sworn in as the head of the CIA in September 2011.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper issued a statement Friday confirming that Petraeus had turned in his resignation, saying his "decision to step down represents the loss of one of our nation's most respected public servants."

soundoff (1,559 Responses)
  1. DennyB

    The first one to bail on King Obama's 2nd term.

    Gen. Petraeus claims it's over an affair. NOT! I being Ret. Army say it's Most likely over the dirty COVER UP on Benghazi and Americans killed there. A skilled well trained experienced man as the Gen. knows how to use special tactics to win a conflict.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • MrApplesauce

      Being retired Navy, he's retiring because of his sense of honor at this being exposed by conservative 'investigators'.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • cedar rapids

      'I being Ret. Army say it's Most likely over the dirty COVER UP on Benghazi and Americans killed there. '

      then why did he claim he had an affair? why, if he was fired, didnt he come out and say why?

      November 9, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. AmyinCambridge

    I agree.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Me as well.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • eric

      Amy in teresting where you live 🙂

      just saying

      November 9, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Maria

    Hmmm sounds a bit strange to me too. Who in that high of a position is going to resign due to an affair, not that its not wrong but do we really believe that was the sole reason?? I think we are smarter than that!

    November 9, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • cedar rapids

      so why else do you think he would resign then?

      November 9, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. resawven


    the old honey pot trap? stupid

    November 9, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. JimGoose

    "I used poor judgement".......Let us see pictures of the mistress and we'll be the judge of that.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Realist

    I think his position in the CIA is FAR more important than a stupid affair, who cares?

    November 9, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. aizen

    why resign because of extra marital? how does it affect his job? i dont get the USA sometimes...

    November 9, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      A former CIA operative who is a regular contributor on CNN just speculated that is was an affair with someone in the dept. which is a BIG NO-NO.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. David M

    "After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair..."

    Sorry General, but to me it does not show poor judgement. It shows poor character.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. bilbo

    Can you say.....Libya

    November 9, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ShawnDH

    true justice whined: "We kow know what he was doing when 4 American hero's died waitng for the "little general" and Obama, The Butcher of Benghazi, to show leadership."

    You are making a fool of yourself with your deranged anti-American fanaticism. It's really disgusting and shameful.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Robert

    The CIA should be run by a civilian anyway and as the "shadow government" it needs to be "cleaned" up.

    November 9, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. FactCheck

    I served Gen. Petraeus for 6 yrs

    Yeah, working at the Kwik-E-Mart is really serving the general. BTW, who is the leader of the armed forces?

    November 9, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • crazycatman

      President Obama is the Commander-in_Chief of the Armed Forces.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Nancy

    Do you guys proofread at all? This is supposed to be a legitimate news source... Haha!

    November 9, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bob

    I'm sure it has NOTHING to do with Benghazi!

    November 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      I'm just on tenterhooks waiting for someone to tie this to the election results–because you know someone will.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. philcollins

    if the man was doing a good job as the head of the CIA what difference does it make if he had an affair

    November 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Washington Insider

      exactly, we had a president do the same thing and it didn't matter... so do you think it might be something else... hummmmm

      November 9, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55