November 9th, 2012
02:59 PM ET


David Petraeus stepped down as the director of the CIA on Friday, citing an affair.

"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," he said in a statement.

Read all of CNN's reporting on the Petraeus resignation

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.

President Barack Obama accepted his resignation.

"By any measure, he was one of the outstanding general officers of his generation, helping our military adapt to new challenges, and leading our men and women in uniform through a remarkable period of service in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he helped our nation put those wars on a path to a responsible end," the president said.

"As director of the Central Intelligence Agency, he has continued to serve with characteristic intellectual rigor, dedication and patriotism."
Obama expressed confidence that the CIA will move forward under the direction of Acting Director Michael Morell.

Here's Petraeus' letter to the CIA staff:

Yesterday afternoon, I went to the White House and asked the President to be allowed, for personal reasons, to resign from my position as D/CIA. 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.

As I depart Langley, I want you to know that it has been the greatest of privileges to have served with you, the officers of our Nation’s Silent Service, a work force that is truly exceptional in every regard. Indeed, you did extraordinary work on a host of critical missions during my time as director, and I am deeply grateful to you for that.

Teddy Roosevelt once observed that life’s greatest gift is the opportunity to work hard at work worth doing. I will always treasure my opportunity to have done that with you and I will always regret the circumstances that brought that work with you to an end.

Thank you for your extraordinary service to our country, and best wishes for continued success in the important endeavors that lie ahead for our country and our Agency.

With admiration and appreciation,

David H. Petraeus


Today, CIA Director David Petraeus submitted his letter of resignation to the President. Dave's decision to step down represents the loss of one of our nation’s most respected public servants. From his long, illustrious Army career to his leadership at the helm of CIA, Dave has redefined what it means to serve and sacrifice for one's country.

Since he took over as Director in September of last year, he and I have worked together to tackle some of the most challenging issues faced by the Intelligence Community in more than a decade. Under his leadership, the CIA remained instrumental in providing our policy makers decision advantage through the best possible intelligence. I'm particularly thankful for Dave's unwavering support and personal commitment to my efforts to lead the Intelligence Community and integrate our intelligence enterprise.

Whether he was in uniform leading our nation's troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, or at CIA headquarters leading the effort to generate intelligence used to keep our nation safe, Dave inspired people who had the privilege of working with him.

I have spent more than five decades serving our country–in uniform and out–and of all the exceptional men and women I have worked with over the years, I can honestly say that Dave Petraeus stands out as one of our nation's great patriots.

On behalf of the entire Intelligence Community, I thank Dave for his service, his support and his continued friendship.

James R. Clapper

Statement by President Obama on the Resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus

David Petraeus has provided extraordinary service to the United States for decades. By any measure, he was one of the outstanding General officers of his generation, helping our military adapt to new challenges, and leading our men and women in uniform through a remarkable period of service in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he helped our nation put those wars on a path to a responsible end. As Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, he has continued to serve with characteristic intellectual rigor, dedication, and patriotism. By any measure, through his lifetime of service David Petraeus has made our country safer and stronger.

Today, I accepted his resignation as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. I am completely confident that the CIA will continue to thrive and carry out its essential mission, and I have the utmost confidence in Acting Director Michael Morell and the men and women of the CIA who work every day to keep our nation safe. 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 at this difficult time.

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  8. Pam

    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 at this difficult time.–President Obama

    November 12, 2012 at 10:16 am | Reply
  9. Pam

    How is this about the president? He had the affair–he comprimised security–he resigned.–Still not seeing how this involves the president. Libya–well his mistress was out lecturing referencing information she retrieved from the generals emails! Again, how is this the presidents fault?

    November 12, 2012 at 10:12 am | Reply
    • Diane

      It's my understanding Eisenhower had a long time mistress and he was a general and president.

      November 12, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Reply
  10. Pam

    Many details are still be uncovered–his involvement w/ this woman howbeit a personal relationship cross the lines w/his professional. He holds a very powerful position and our security comprimised.. We don't need to know all the details of what information–definition of classified.

    November 12, 2012 at 10:09 am | Reply
  11. Diane

    The General has served our country and has been decorated accordingly. An affair, well we have had president's who have done the same and one a Four Star General. This is unfortunate and should be a situation involving he and his family. If the woman had access to his email doesn't seem like this would be out of line since she was writing his biography. Wouldn't she have been checked out prior to working with the General? So obviously she isn't a spy and national threat. Seems those throwing stones in our government should clean up their own backyards. This in no way takes away the esteem I hold for someone that has served our country as the General has done.

    November 12, 2012 at 9:44 am | Reply
    • Pam

      It's illegal to transfer classified information to a private computer-illegal. Not the affair, how the affair affected his ability to serve in his position. If he would have had the affair while serving in the military he would have been dishonorably discharged–military law. I along w/many others applaud his service.

      November 12, 2012 at 10:15 am | Reply
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  13. DSK

    Who is that woman in photo ? She looks like old paper grocery bag. Worn out.

    November 11, 2012 at 6:22 am | Reply
    • Your_Puta_Madre

      Thats the General's wife

      November 11, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Reply
  14. DSK

    James Bond was doing it all the time, but not Felix. Felix was watching with binoculars.

    November 11, 2012 at 6:16 am | Reply
  15. DSK

    Gen. was not in hotel so she was not a hotel maid.

    November 11, 2012 at 6:13 am | Reply
  16. Youarenotinthebookoflife

    Daniel 8:25
    And through his cunning, he shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule.
    This is just the beginning.
    Its not what the GOP did wrong, it is the wickedness that has overtaken the U.S.
    America on a collision course with the Almighty

    November 10, 2012 at 10:46 am | Reply
  17. Gorritxo

    We should cancel the CIA ,responsable for a lot of murderers. Example when it started in the 50's
    Coupe in Guatemala's president Arbenz and Iranian president Mosadek a moderate non islamic president.
    Good bye Petraus good ridens

    November 9, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Reply
  18. 1Psuche

    How convenient! Now he’s gonna miss out on testifying before Congress about the Benghazi affair! Bummer…What unfortunate timing! Darn!

    It’s obvious that he’s being REMOVED to protect the “official” spin of the story. He can be thankful however that they are allowing him to leave instead of him turning up “suicided”!

    November 9, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Reply
    • AnAmerican

      Thank you for your comment. Straight to the points; yes plural.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Reply
  19. From Finland

    THIS is the result of double standard of matter how skillfull people you have wrong act, and you career is gone.....give him a brake..... IF the guy is worth forth doing his job......mistress is NOTHING. GROW UP USA !!! really! GIVE this man JOB BACK !!! you dont have enough good people to loose about this kind of nonsence !!!

    November 9, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Reply
    • Pat

      How can you trust someone who shows such poor judgement when lives are on the line?

      November 9, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Reply
      • From Finland

        Oh boy....if a mistress is a poor judgement for you........when in are really in the wrong spot.......GET A LIFE! NO military man/women will /would put their spouse advance in the common good.....and that judgement is and will always be your weakness, me.....the enemy..will found put yourselves together and start to think the bigger picture than someones mistress, for god will look so weak because of this that you dont even imagine..........ones put an mistress overs an career and skillful officer......youll be laughed the sheeps near to speeks !!!!!!!!! A BIG mistakes from you....really big......

        November 9, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
      • VintageClass11

        PAT PAT PAT........There was no affair....He wasn't OUTED....what man, in his right mind , would out himself and embarrass his wife and entire family unless he was pressured to do so.....he wasn't outed dear....he outed himself....Men don;t do matter what their position is....HELLO !!!!!!
        Wake up AMERICA!!!!!!!
        Marxism is alive and well and in the White House....what do you want to bet Patreous has the best retirement plan ever...???????

        November 9, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • AnAmerican

      You post " GIVE this man JOB BACK !!! "
      There is not one single American who took his job away from him. Read the article again, I know you Fins can read and speak better English than most Americans.
      General David Patraeus made the decision, all by himself, to resign from office.

      November 9, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Reply
      • From Finland

        He was FORCED to resing.....thats the difference.

        November 10, 2012 at 1:21 am |
    • VintageClass11

      He resigned,,,,he wasn't fired !

      November 9, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Reply
      • From Finland

        He was FORCED to resing.....thats the difference.

        November 10, 2012 at 1:21 am |
    • VintageClass11

      HEY FINLAND!!!! He wasn't outed....think...who admits to an affair out of the clear blue.....5 days before they are suppose to testify in a case against a corrupt President.....coincidence....I don't think so.....!!!!!!!!!!

      November 9, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Reply
  20. Smart

    Obama is a smooth operator. I can only conclude that Dave compromised on the Bengazi affair; and the best way to help maintain his intelligence reputation was to use a family banana skin, which everyone would understand to give him a soft landing. I am sure the info will eventually come out. You may be thinking it is about covering up for Obama's inaction after the attack; you will be shocked – It points mostly to complication with some republicans to create a chaos that would down the POTUS. I still look back to the Romney 47% video where someone offered him an opportunity to take advantage of a hostage crises in the middle east the same way Reagan did. irrespective of how many times I watched the Bengazi video clips, it only points to a hostage taking attempt that went sour. I am surprised that the CIA is not yet questioning the guy that made that suggestion in the video. A little insider information to Jihadists and assurance that they won't encounter serious opposition is enough to galvanize them to take a USA ambassador hostage; thinking they are fighting for Allah, but not realizing that they are doing the bidding of a GOP strategist. If the white house don't put a gag on the press, the truth will com out. And rather than implicate the POTUS, the real Enemy of State will be discovered sooner than later.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Reply
    • VintageClass11

      You are INSANE!

      November 9, 2012 at 10:06 pm | Reply
    • VintageClass11

      The REAL enemy of the STAT is a resident of the WHITE HOUSE,,,,,,hint....he ain't WHITE!

      November 9, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Reply
  21. Robin

    I'd like to see more women in positions of authority.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Reply
  22. Jacqueline Gittens

    Petraeus should not resign. He is lacking in humility. I am very disappointed in him. He has too much pride to accept his own imperfection, an imperfection that is an unfortunate common fault. No one has asked him to resign.... We are all prepared to accept his faults, which are no worse than the rest of us. It's him who will not accept that.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Reply
    • Chris

      Speak for yourself. It matters how public officials treat their families because they are role models whether you think they should be or not. It's not unusual to be attracted to someone who isn't your spouse but if you don't have the self control to shut those feelings down, why on earth should we trust you to be able to lead the CIA?

      November 9, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Reply
      • From Finland

        So was she in some agent of your enemy??? You dont stopped your mind to stop crushing to someone...thets not how people minds work, humans are not a fell in love, no matter what and thats it.........dont kill ones career because of that !!!

        November 9, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
      • Portland tony

        That role model Cr*p is so nauseating. Petraeus was the CIA boss....He made the hard decisions. People lived or died at his orders. He was a political appointee ...(Granted, a good one). But a role jest sir!

        November 9, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • VintageClass11

      It is all about OBAMA'S imperfections dear....not his own.....HELLO !!!!! ??????????????????

      November 9, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Reply
  23. Bush Family Are Nazi's

    Maybe we could put more Bush Nazi's in the CIA.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Reply
  24. polnick

    Eunuchs were used by kings to keep a servants mind only on their duty. Applicants applying for sensitive government positions should accept castration as a guarantee of fidelity.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Reply
    • Portland tony

      Today we remove their brain!

      November 9, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Reply
    • VintageClass11

      The only person who should be castrated is OBAMA for screwing the Entire Country !!!!!!

      November 9, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Reply
  25. Phillipe

    From his family's perspective, seems as if he really was General Betrayus. And for being this seasoned a military man, who now must be replaced after a stupid dalliance that could have subjected him to blackmail, he's betrayed all of our trust, too. Hey Clemenza, why don't you take "Rocco" to the airport.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Reply
    • Phillipe

      That should have been "Carlo" (to the airport). But I'm sure most of you caught my gist.

      November 9, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Reply
    • VintageClass11

      What Planet are you living on Phillipe...there was no affair....HELLO!
      I bet you voted for OBAMA.....right ??????????

      November 9, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Reply
  26. 82airborne1968

    There is no great mystery about this. It happens to General Petraeus just like it happens to Butch the plumber or Mike the cable guy. When Mr. Johnson wants attention, guys turn off their brains. It's a CONSTANT male problem.

    November 9, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Reply
    • VintageClass11

      SURE!!!!!! 5 days before he is to testify against OBAMA.....wake up and smell the roses....they STINK!

      November 9, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Reply
  27. Portland tony

    The Irony here is that if infidelity is Truely a measure of a man's character and leadership qualities, our nation was founded and led throughout the centuries by many men of no character whatsoever!

    November 9, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Reply
  28. LaTosha

    Wow news spreads fast. I bet the political hacks in the White House helped move this along. There have been many reports in DC of operatives in the Obama White House working to undermine Petraeus.
    Will Barbara Starr report in that??

    November 9, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Reply
    • VintageClass11's about OBAMA'S butt ...not his back !!!!

      November 9, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Reply

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