News / USA

Petraeus Resigns as CIA Chief Over Extramarital Affair

Resigned CIA Director David Petraeus (Jan 2012 photo)Resigned CIA Director David Petraeus (Jan 2012 photo)
Resigned CIA Director David Petraeus (Jan 2012 photo)
Resigned CIA Director David Petraeus (Jan 2012 photo)
VOA News
Retired U.S. General David Petraeus, the man who was credited with helping to turn around the war in Iraq, has resigned as chief of the Central Intelligence Agency, citing an extramarital affair.

Petraeus wrote in a letter to CIA staffers that he submitted his resignation in person to President Barack Obama Thursday. Petraeus writes that he showed "extremely poor judgment" and that such behavior is unacceptable in a leader.

The former general says it has been the greatest of privileges to serve in the CIA, and he thanked its workers for what he called their "extraordinary service."

President Obama says through Petraeus's lifetime of service in the military and as American intelligence chief, he has made the country safer and stronger.

U.S. media reports say the affair was uncovered when the FBI began investigating journalist Paula Broadwell, who wrote a Petraeus biography, for allegedly trying to gain access to classified information and the general's email.

The reports say Broadwell had almost unlimited access to Petraeus in Afghanistan.  But the FBI did not name Broadwell as the woman with whom Petraeus was having an affair.  The general also did not disclose any names.

Making of a Military Leader

The 60-year-old Petraeus joined the military right out of high school when he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Petraeus spent 37 years with the U.S. Army, becoming one of the world's best known military leaders before retiring and taking over the CIA last year.

The four-star general was the mastermind of the U.S. troop surge in Iraq under former President George W. Bush and also led a similar surge in Afghanistan.

As the commander of U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq from February 2007 to September 2008, he is widely credited with turning around the Iraq conflict and pulling the country back from the brink of a full-fledged sectarian war.

He assumed command of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan in July of 2010, after overseeing a wider region encompassing Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Yemen for nearly two years as the head of U.S. Central Command.

Appointing Petraeus to the post of CIA director, President Obama called the paratrooper one of the nation's "leading strategic thinkers" and one of the "finest military officers of all time."

Education and Personal Life

Petraeus was born in the eastern state of New York on November 7, 1952. His mother was a librarian and his father a Dutch sea captain.

Petraeus married his wife, Holly Knowlton, the daughter of an Army General, in 1974, two months after graduating from West Point.

About a decade later, he earned a Master's degree in public affairs from Princeton University and later, a doctorate in international relations.

He and his wife have two children, a daughter and a son. Their son also joined the Army and served in Afghanistan, while Holly Petraeus has helped military families through her own work with the Obama administration.

CIA Tenure

Petraeus kept a lower profile in his position as spy chief than he did in the military. But his time at the CIA was tainted recently by questions over the killing of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on September 11. Two of the Americans killed were security officers working for the CIA.

Petraeus was scheduled to testify before lawmakers next week about the incident, which has seen officials arguing over who was responsible for the security breakdown.

ABC News quotes an unnamed U.S. official as saying Petraeus' decision to step down had "absolutely nothing to do with Benghazi." ABC says congressional hearings on the Benghazi incident will continue as planned with CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell testifying in Petraeus' place as acting director.

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Comment Sorting
by: danah from: hawaii
November 10, 2012 4:34 PM
It's Paula D. fault. She probably doesn't care about him but want information about him so she used him by letting her body be the bait for him. Her husband shouldn't tolerate this kind of behavior, many fish in the sea and he could do better.

Petraeus probably was paid well to resign also. He got paid well to shut his mouth about Benghazi.

by: Lela from: nm
November 10, 2012 10:51 AM
This is sad ,I feel much sympathy for the families of both partys involved . It wasn't easy for him to come forth and be truthful about something that he knew would end his beloved career and possibly his family relations .We all have to admire his truthfulness , and thank him for his services well rendered , above and beyond services to his country . There is more to this then what we think , and the " other woman " , what role does she have in this ? , Re; whose fault ? .
In Response

by: Ken from: Canada
November 10, 2012 4:34 PM
This issue is all about trust, if Mr. Petraeus cannot be trusted with his own family, then he cannot be trusted with deeper things as with the USA.. His hand was shown on the Holy Bible as well, adultery is a very serious crime, may God forgive him.

November 09, 2012 10:49 PM
money lost , some thing lost , health lost some thing lost. but if character lost every thing lost.

by: Noma from: Philippines
November 09, 2012 10:25 PM
His alleged extramarital affair is his personal concern hence it is nobody's business. On the other hand, if proven true and somehow jeopardizes his duty as CIA Chief then the government needed to follow certain protocol in order not to endanger the safety of the agency particularly the country. His resignation is expected yet it is way scripted, it is just another tactic of him to gather sympathy. With his credentials, he could do a lot better to clean his mess.

by: Jill from: Los Angeles
November 09, 2012 6:41 PM
The key question is - did David Petraeus have an affair or "An Affair"?

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