Gen. David Petraeus on Friday resigned as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, saying in a statement that he had shown “extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair.”
“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,” Petraeus said in a statement. “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.”
In a statement issued after the news broke, President Barack Obama said that CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell was now the agency’s acting director.
“Today, I accepted [Petraeus’] resignation as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency,” Obama said. “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.”
The President called Petraeus “one of the outstanding General officers of his generation,” and said that he wished him and his wife, Holly Petraeus, “the very best at this difficult time.”
A separate statement issued Friday by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper called Petraeus “one of our nation’s great patriots.”
“Today, CIA Director David Petraeus submitted his letter of resignation to the President,” Clapper said in the statement, first obtained by The Washington Post. “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.’
Petraeus became the 20th Director of the CIA on Sept. 6, 2011, following a 37-year career in the U.S. Army.
Read Petraeus’ full statement:
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
Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com