CIA director quits over affair

Friday, Nov. 9, 2012 3:26 PM
Last updated 6:21 PM
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WASHINGTON — David Petraeus, the retired four-star general who led the U.S. military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, abruptly resigned Friday as director of the CIA after admitting he had an extramarital affair.

The affair was discovered during an FBI investigation, according to officials briefed on the developments. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the matter. It was unclear what the FBI was investigating or when it became aware of the affair.

The resignation shocked Washington’s intelligence and political communities, bringing a sudden end to the public career of the best-known general of the post-9/11 wars.

Petraeus, who turned 60 on Wednesday, said in a statement to CIA employees that he had asked President Obama on Thursday to allow him to resign and on Friday the president accepted. Petraeus said he had shown “extremely poor judgment” in having the affair.

“Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours,” Petraeus said. He has been married for 38 years to Holly Petraeus, whom he met when he was a cadet at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. She was the daughter of the academy superintendent.

Obama said in a statement that the general had provided “extraordinary service to the United States for decades” and had given a lifetime of service that “made our country safer and stronger.” Obama called him “one of the outstanding general officers of his generation.”

The president said CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell would serve as acting director. Morell was the key CIA aide in the White House to President George W. Bush during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

“I am completely confident that the CIA will continue to thrive and carry out its essential mission,” Obama said.

The resignation comes at a sensitive time. The administration and the CIA have struggled to defend security and intelligence lapses before the attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three others.

The CIA has come under intense scrutiny for providing the White House and other administration officials with talking points that led them to say the Benghazi attack was a result of a film protest, not a militant terrorist attack. It has become clear that the CIA was aware the attack was distinct from the film protests roiling across other parts of the Muslim world.

Morell rather than Petraeus now is expected to testify at closed congressional briefings next week on the attacks on the consulate in Benghazi.

For the director of the CIA, being engaged in an extramarital affair is considered a serious breach of security and a counterintelligence threat. If a foreign government had learned of the affair, the reasoning goes, Petraeus or the person with whom he was involved could have been blackmailed. Military justice considers conduct such as an extramarital affair to be possible grounds for court-martial.

Holly Petraeus is known for her work helping military families. She joined the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to set up an office dedicated to helping service members with financial issues.

Though Obama made no direct mention of Petraeus’ reason for resigning, he offered his thoughts and prayers to the general and his wife, saying Holly Petraeus had “done so much to help military families through her own work. I wish them the very best at this difficult time.”

Petraeus said in his statement to CIA employees, “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.”

The director of national intelligence, James Clapper, said Petraeus’ departure represented “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.”

Former CIA officer Bruce Riedel, now with the Brookings Institution, noted that other directors have “resigned under unpleasant and unflattering circumstances.” Jim Woolsey left “under embarrassing circumstances over the discovery of a KGB mole, and director John Deutch left after putting some classified information on his home computer,” Riedel said

Before Obama brought Petraeus to the CIA, he was credited with salvaging the U.S. war in Iraq.

“His inspirational leadership and his genius were directly responsible - after years of failure - for the success of the surge in Iraq,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said Friday.

President George W. Bush sent Petraeus to Iraq in February 2007, at the peak of sectarian violence, to turn things around as head of U.S. forces. He oversaw an influx of 30,000 U.S. troops and moved troops out of big bases so they could work more closely with Iraqi forces scattered throughout Baghdad.

Petraeus’ success was credited with paving the way for the eventual U.S. withdrawal.

After Iraq, Bush made Petraeus commander of U.S. Central Command, overseeing all U.S. military operations in the greater Middle East, including Afghanistan and Pakistan.

When the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, was relieved of duty in June 2010 for comments in a Rolling Stone story, Obama asked Petraeus to take over in Kabul and the general quickly agreed.

In the months that followed, Petraeus helped lead the push to add more U.S. troops to that war and dramatically boost the effort to train Afghan soldiers and police.

House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King, R-N.Y., said he regretted Petraeus’ resignation, calling him “one of America’s most outstanding and distinguished military leaders and a true American patriot.”

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein also regretted the resignation but gave Morell high marks, too.

“I wish President Obama had not accepted this resignation, but I understand and respect the decision,” she said.

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Jake
33300
Points
Jake 11/09/12 - 08:44 pm
3
1
Impeachment

If there are indeed articles for impeachment then please present them and lets get if over with. Otherwise, you have just opinion and speculation. How does President Joe Biden sound? Well, at least he is white, I guess. Maybe not, could be a clown, errr... I mean clone.

KSL
139339
Points
KSL 11/09/12 - 09:03 pm
3
2
Get rid of Biden too

He is thick in it. I am not that fond of the Speaker, but we need to get rid of the current dem crooks just like we did when Nixon was pres. This current crewis way more corrupt.

KSL
139339
Points
KSL 11/09/12 - 09:05 pm
2
1
Jake

Wait to the Libyan mess gets sorted out. There will be way more ammunition.

dichotomy
35988
Points
dichotomy 11/09/12 - 09:13 pm
4
2
Heck, I think Obama's

Heck, I think Obama's executive orders on immigration and student loans should be grounds for impeachment for violating federal laws. His end runs around Congress to purposely violate federal laws which are on the books are a violation of his oath of office.

Jake
33300
Points
Jake 11/09/12 - 09:30 pm
2
0
Let's see

Yes, let's see if any of this sticks. Bush got away with water boarding during his watch and is presently holed up in his bunker in Texas. Some how Presidents seem to get away with things that we cannot. Why is that?

Willow Bailey
20603
Points
Willow Bailey 11/09/12 - 09:50 pm
2
2
Waterboarding works for me if

Waterboarding works for me if there is sufficient info regarding terrorism.
Drown them.

dichotomy
35988
Points
dichotomy 11/09/12 - 10:25 pm
5
1
The law is/was ambiguous on

The law is/was ambiguous on water boarding, Bush got a legal opinion and got by with it. The imigration laws and laws on the books about the student loan programs are specific, totally UNambiguous, written by Congress who are the only ones with legal authority to change them. That is the difference. I cannot argue the point that so far Obama has gotten by with with his "orders" but then again, nobody has challenged him on any of his presidential orders which subvert the power of Congress and thereby violates his oath of office to uphold the Constitution. I don't care if people agree or disagree with Obama's purpose for doing so, I have a real problem with anyone making arbitrary changes to laws that were passed by the House and Senate and signed into law. It's one thing to have a presidential order that changes some agency's "rules" but it's something quite different to assume powers that are reserved for Congress.

harley_52
24856
Points
harley_52 11/09/12 - 11:14 pm
3
2
Why Now?

This will be the biggest political scandal of our lifetime.

My theory...

The White House has known for a relatively long time (months) about the affair and have used it to blackmail Petraeus into supporting their stories including, most recently, that the Behghazi attacks were NOT planned, coordinated attacks, but rather a spontaneous protest over the Mohammed video trailer on YouTube. They told Petraeus to so testify, or else they'd out his affair. So he did what they asked.

Then the stuff hit the fan. It became obvious that was NOT true. In spite of the press (except FoxNews) ignoring Benghazi, the story grew and grew and Congress began investigating it thoroughly. Hearings were scheduled and Petraeus would HAVE to testify IF he were a sitting CIA director. If he were a private citizen he could "lawyer up" and take the 5th Amendment, refusing to answer questions to avoid self-incrimination. Such testimony would protect the Administration. So, they agreed to let the story of the affair break. They still hold the hammer of a potential Courts Martial over Petraeus where he could be demoted and his retirement income seriously affected if he talks openly so they could tell him to take the 5th, or we will Court Martial you. If you refuse to answer questions and protect us, we will not Court Martial you and you can keep your rank and retirement pay.

This will probably come out anyway. It's MUCH bigger than Watergate....

KSL
139339
Points
KSL 11/09/12 - 11:15 pm
2
0
Seeing

A lot of people I would want to share barracks with once we "got you figured out Omananites) people are singled out.

Prior to the those "elections Ruinghening a cimplex funding suppoort.

Willow Bailey
20603
Points
Willow Bailey 11/09/12 - 11:51 pm
3
1
Harley, your explanation

Harley, your explanation makes good sense. Thanks for the time and sharing it.

harley_52
24856
Points
harley_52 11/10/12 - 12:24 am
4
1
Willow....

It's a real tragedy that Petraeus is involved in such a horrible situation. After all he's done, this is what he will end up being remembered for. The Clintons were once described as tornadoes, moving through the lives of people around them, destroying them as they go. I think that's a fair description of Obama as well.

Oddly enough, I think it's likely Obama will end up sharing another description with Bill Clinton......

Impeached President.

Willow Bailey
20603
Points
Willow Bailey 11/10/12 - 12:46 am
4
2
Chicago politics, thug

Chicago politics, thug associates, Muslim upbringing,. What should we expect?

Tullie
2930
Points
Tullie 11/10/12 - 05:18 am
2
1
Affair

When was the affair supposed to have happened or is it still ongoing?

It is referred to as in the past, but I never have seen when it was supposed to have happened. I find that strange. Usually they put out when it happened and where all the gory details.

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 11/10/12 - 06:14 am
4
0
Congress could still call him

Congress could still call him to testify. Of course he could do like Karl Rove and ignore the subpoena and refuse.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 11/10/12 - 03:04 pm
1
1
If subpoena by congress

any US Citizen must show up. If congress chooses not to subpoena him, it is because the political trade off fix is in.

No one can convince me an Repub Party member would not jump at the chance to burn the Obama Admin over Libya, unless a political tradeoff has been made.

The question or interesting story might very well become the reason he was not called to testify.

As a rule of thumb.
Quiet exits are handled late on Fridays to drain energy off by Monday. Reduce news media / public interest and discussion. These are exits are generally damage control tactic employed by the political party effected.

Nasty exits happen during the middle of the week, to let them sizzle for a few days before the talking head get them over weekend. These are were a political party is ripping the other party.

To confuse the mess even more
Exits and/or Staff adjustments always occur right after an election.

PARTING SHOT
An unasked question that should be asked:

WHERE WAS OUR WATCH DOG MEDIA?
What favors did they get in return for not releasing the story early in the week?

harley_52
24856
Points
harley_52 11/10/12 - 08:04 am
1
1
"No one can convince me....

....an Repub Party member would not jump at the chance to burn the Obama Admin over Libya, unless a political tradeoff has been made."

Well, maybe you can't be convinced, but that doesn't mean it's not true. I can see a threat of personal ruin going a long way. The White House holds the power to destroy him even beyond (and in fact because of) this admission of guilt to the extramarital affair. If it happened while he was on Active Duty, then he could be charged with Conduct Unbecoming An Officer (UCMJ Article 133) and Adultery (Article 134) . Both could be heard before a General Courts Martial convened by the President and could result in the permanent loss of all rank (4 stars), all pay (probably around $150K/year FOR LIFE) and all benefits (substantial, including health care for his family and lots of others).

In other words they could not only ruin his well deserved place in history, but every other aspect of his life as well.

They literally hold his life in their hands.

Or, if he refuses to cooperate with Congress.....they could choose to forget it all and let him keep all of it.

Sounds like a pretty big hammer to me.

harley_52
24856
Points
harley_52 11/10/12 - 09:09 am
1
0
"When was the affair supposed to have happened...

... or is it still ongoing?"

I don't know about the "still ongoing" part, but he started working with this woman (on his biography) a couple of years before he left Active Duty (I think while he was still Commander of AFCENT).

harley_52
24856
Points
harley_52 11/10/12 - 09:13 am
1
0
"any US Citizen must show up....

....If congress chooses not to subpoena him, it is because the political trade off fix is in."

But any US Citizen is entitled to "lawyer up" and refuse to answer questions based upon their 5th Amendment rights.

I don't know if a sitting D/CIA could take the 5th, but getting him to resign and become just a plain old US Citizen makes it possible and practical.

harley_52
24856
Points
harley_52 11/10/12 - 09:21 am
0
0
"Of course he could do like Karl Rove...

.... and ignore the subpoena and refuse."

Wrong again.

Riverman1
89984
Points
Riverman1 11/10/12 - 09:42 am
1
0
Yes, I agree with Harley's

Yes, I agree with Harley's theme. The key is THIS...Petraeus now will not have to testify about Libya next week. I don't understand why he doesn't have to. He was the director when it happened. Some Congressmen are demanding he testify even though he has stepped down.

When did the FBI start investigating high ranking officials for affairs? Do they keep tabs on Presidents? Senators? Representatives? Cabinet members? Does the CIA keep tabs on the FBI? This is a bizarre event joined at the hip with the Libyan debacle.

harley_52
24856
Points
harley_52 11/10/12 - 10:16 am
1
0
"When did the FBI start investigating...

...When did the FBI start investigating high ranking officials for affairs?" Do they keep tabs on Presidents? Senators? Representatives? Cabinet members? Does the CIA keep tabs on the FBI? This is a bizarre event joined at the hip with the Libyan debacle."

The FBI has always investigated high ranking officials. It's one of their jobs. They have a duty to protect National Security by watching for risks and threats thereto. One of their responsibilities is to conduct background investigations for security clearances and also as part of the vetting process in the selection of high ranking officials. It's my understanding that in Petraeus' case, this FBI check was waived in favor of a check by the CIA. This is highly unusual and leads me to believe the Administration already knew about the affair and didn't want the FBI involved. Wouldn't it be nice if you had absolute control (via blackmail threat) over a guy like Petraeus? You could get the CIA to say whatever you wanted it to say.

The story is that the FBI stumbled onto the information about the affair as part of another, ongoing investigation. When was that? If that were true, surely the FBI Director notified the President immediately. That would be mandatory. When was that? It's a key question.

This thing is HUGE. I feel terrible for General Petraeus, but consider all the implications for the President and his Administration.

The genie is out of the bottle now....it is going to unravel. It's too big and too many people involved to keep it hidden.

harley_52
24856
Points
harley_52 11/10/12 - 10:35 am
0
0
"Do they keep tabs on Presidents?....

.... Senators? Representatives? Cabinet members? Does the CIA keep tabs on the FBI?

I don't think it's the CIA's job to investigate the FBI, except maybe when the FBI is working a case overseas. Basically, the FBI does the domestic snooping and the CIA does the snooping abroad.

And yes, the FBI snoops on Congressmen, Senators, Cabinet members and even the President (supposedly), though they work for the President so take that for what it's worth. You do remember, don't you, that J.Edgar Hoover snooped on everybody, including Presidents? Sometimes he even dressed for the affairs.

Really_Really
129
Points
Really_Really 11/10/12 - 11:27 am
0
0
Hillary out too???

Yep, seems yahoo is reporting that she, along with 2 others, are out of the Cabinet. Even some rumblings of Holder leaving too! Certainly stinks big-time and looking like a cover-up to the inth degree!

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/obama-cabinet-look-195117634.html

harley_52
24856
Points
harley_52 11/10/12 - 11:53 am
0
0
While We're On The Subject...

....of background investigations and vetting....

The public STILL knows almost nothing about Obama's background. His birth place, his early years, his friends, his sweethearts, the source(s) of funding for his education, his college applications, transcripts, term papers, and so forth, his memberships in organizations, his passports, etc...

Does the FBI know all these things? You may rest assured they do.

Why haven't they come out? The FBI works for the President. Additionally....what would happen if we found out the President wasn't eligible to be President, or had done something that would disqualify him from holding office?

Will they EVER come out? Bet on it.

Conservative Man
5577
Points
Conservative Man 11/10/12 - 11:54 am
0
0
What's the big deal??

...weren't we told ad nauseum during the Clinton years "it's only about sex, it's his private life ,as long as he's doing his job who cares, etc.)??

GiantsAllDay
10230
Points
GiantsAllDay 11/10/12 - 12:13 pm
1
0
Embedded

Ms. Broadwell penned his biography and was "embedded" with him during the war. HaHa I'm not making this up.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 11/10/12 - 03:17 pm
0
0
harley_52 - UCMJ

United Military Code of Justice applies only to actions taken and can only be applied while they are still ACTIVE duty military personnel. The double dipper /authority law required him to resign to become CIA director.

Lawyer up.
Considering a number of retired CIA directors have had a nasty habit of dying within a few years of strange accidents. UNLESS they get elected Pres. Lawyer up would serve to protect their families until they have a strange accident.

Willow Bailey
20603
Points
Willow Bailey 11/10/12 - 03:22 pm
1
0
Yes, they do. J Edgar Hoover

Yes, they do. J Edgar Hoover was obsessed with JFK's affairs.
Gen. Patraeus reminds me of what happened in Dwight Eisenhower's military career.

They scandal is NOT the affair, though. It is the White House cover up over the murder of these four men as well as the facts and bad acts that lead to their demise. Americans should stop playing politics and get some real concern for the truth regardless of where the chips fall.

This is serious.

itsanotherday1
46656
Points
itsanotherday1 11/10/12 - 03:37 pm
0
0
I'm not much on conspiracy

I'm not much on conspiracy theories, so don't put much stock in the idea Petraeus' outing is connected to Libya. I do find it odd though that him testifying has changed with the resignation. The truth should be easy, director or not.

As to the affair, I cannot condone it, but I do understand how it came about. A man who has spent a lot of his adult life away from his wife has a traveling companion much younger and prettier than his wife. A couple of drinks, a wink or two, thousands of miles from home....

I traveled a good bit for my career and I can tell you; after being in a couple of uncomfortable spots with flirtatious ladies, I avoided those situations like the plague after that. When the testosterone gets flowing, the big brian ceases to be rational.

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