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Petraeus Resigns as CIA Chief over Extramarital Affair

November 9th 2012


CIA Director David Petraeus has resigned because of an extramarital affair. Petraeus announced the decision in a letter to President Obama released Friday after telling the president the news on Thursday.

“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,” he wrote.

“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,” he wrote. Petraeus's wife, Holly, works at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau set up by the Wall Street reform bill. The shocking news could end a sparkling Washington career for Petraeus, who has been mentioned as a presidential candidate. Affairs can end any political career, but are particularly unacceptable for the nation’s top spy given national security implications.

Prior to his tenure at the agency, Petraeus was the top commander of all U.S. forces in Afghanistan. He took the job after former Gen. Stanley McChrystal was forced to resign by the White House over disparaging remarks about the administration.

During his time at CIA, Petraeus oversaw the administration's aggressive counterterrorism campaign, focusing on the increased use of armed unmanned drones in Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

"As I depart Langley, I want you to know that it has been the greatest of privileges to have served with you," the outgoing CIA chief wrote. "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."

As a top commander in the Army, Petraeus is credited as one of the architects of the military's counterinsurgency strategy, which became the crux of the American strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan. In a statement, President Obama commended Petraeus for extraordinary service to his country 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," Obama wrote. "As Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, he has continued to serve with characteristic intellectual rigor, dedication, and patriotism."

Deputy CIA chief Mike Morell is expected to replace Petraeus as the top official in the agency, according to recent news reports Obama said he was confident the CIA would thrive and that he had the "utmost confidence" in Morell, who will be the agency's acting director.

"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," Obama said.

Carlo Munoz writes for The Hill, from where this article is adapted.

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