David Petraeus quits as head of the CIA after extra-marital affair

Most decorated soldier of his generation admits ‘poor judgement’ in tendering his resignation to the President

The director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) resigned from his post yesterday, citing an extramarital affair as the reason for stepping down.

The sudden and unexpected departure of David Petraeus, a former four-star general who led the US military's involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan before becoming head of the powerful intelligence agency last year, came days after President Barack Obama was re-elected to the White House.

In a statement explaining his decision, Mr Petraeus said that the President had accepted his resignation. "After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgement by engaging in an extramarital affair," Mr Petraeus wrote. "Such behaviour is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organisation such as ours."

Mr Obama last night praised Mr Petraeus's "extraordinary service" to the United States. "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," Mr Obama said.

Mr Obama added that Michael Morell, the agency's long-time deputy director, would serve as acting CIA chief for the immediate future. Mr Morell had previously served as acting director following the departure of former CIA chief Leon Panetta.

Mr Petraeus's resignation comes at a trying period for the CIA, which has been busy fending off criticism for its handling of an attack on a US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on 11 September.

The attack led to the death of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other members of his diplomatic mission.

In the weeks since the incident, the US State Department and the CIA have offered different accounts of the event, and have engaged in a unusually public dispute over who was responsible for the security failure at the compound where the attack took place.

Mr Petraeus was scheduled to testify on the matter at a closed hearing before the House Intelligence Committee hearing next week.

While it is not clear whether Mr Petraeus will now attend that hearing, what is apparent is that yesterday's revelations have brought to an abrupt end the career of the US military's most respected figures.

As Commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Iraq, the then General Petraeus was widely credited for the "surge" of more than 20,000 soldiers there that helped improve security during the last years of the George W Bush administration.

Following his success there he was placed in charge of the US war effort in Afghanistan. There too, he led an increase in troop numbers into the country in an effort to bring about stability, but was unable to repeat his success.

Last year, Mr Petreaus was persuaded by Mr Obama to leave the Army after 37 years and take charge of the CIA. He took up the role in September 2011

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Health & Safety Consultant

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic and exciting opport...

Recruitment Genius: Project and Quality Manager

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is an independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Sales Executive - OTE £20,625

£14625 - £20625 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This role is for an enthusiasti...

Guru Careers: Financial Controller

£45 - £55k DOE: Guru Careers: A Financial Controller is required to join a suc...

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals