CIA Director Petraeus resigns, admits extra-marital affair

Fri Nov 9, 2012 5:24pm EST
 

By Mark Hosenball and Tabassum Zakaria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - CIA Director David Petraeus resigned as head of the main U.S. spy agency on Friday, saying he had engaged in an extramarital affair and acknowledging that he "showed extremely poor judgment."

In a letter to the CIA workforce, Petraeus, 60, said that he met with President Barack Obama at the White House on Thursday and asked "to be allowed, for personal reasons, to resign from my position."

"After being married for 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair," he wrote. "Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours."

Obama, who was re-elected to a second term on Tuesday, said in a statement that he accepted Petraeus' resignation, praising him for his work at the CIA and for leading U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The sudden and dramatic turn of events appeared to end the public career of a widely admired man who played a key role in the Iraq war, led the U.S. Central Command and commanded U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan.

Petraeus' name had circulated speculatively as a possible Republican presidential nominee before Obama tapped him as CIA chief. Before taking the CIA post, he retired as an Army general after nearly four decades of military service.

Petraeus had led the CIA for only 14 months. His sudden departure threatened to usher in a period of instability at the spy agency, which is grappling with a leveling off in its budget after a decade of steady increases.

The agency is also fending off questions about its performance before and after the attack that led to the death of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens in Benghazi, Libya.   Continued...

 
File photo of CIA Director David Petraeus speaking to members of a Senate (Select) Intelligence hearing on "World Wide Threats" on Capitol Hill in Washington in this January 31, 2012 file photo. President Barack Obama on November 9, 2012 accepted the resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus, praised him as as one of the most outstanding generals of his generation and expressed confidence that the intelligence agency would continue to thrive. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/Files