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
- 1 Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 2 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned PR disaster
- 5 Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
Tesco in crisis: UK managing director among four executives suspended after exposure of accounting scandal
Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
Alicia Keys leaks own nude photo 'to create a kinder and more peaceful world'
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
£21552 - £31588 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education re...
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Science teachers requ...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful, Central London bas...
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Qualified English tea...