David Petraeus resigns from his post as CIA director after admitting he cheated on his wife of 37 years. The former army commander has led the CIA since 2011.
Mr Petraeus, 60, a four-star US general who led the US in Iraq and Afghanistan, admitted he had an extramarital affair in a statement to CIA employees. He asked President Barack Obama to allow him to resign on Thursday. Today, the president accepted.
Mr Petraneus 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,” Mr Petraeus said.
It is an abrupt end to the career of the best-known US general of the past decade. He was credited with emboldening the US war effort in Iraq when he led the 2007 “surge”.
The president said Mr Petraeus had provided “extraordinary service” that had made the US safer and stronger. The CIA was criticised, however, after its role in the September attack on the US consulate in Benghaz, Libya that led to the death of US Ambassador Chris Stevens. His departure threatens to cause instability at the CIA, which is dealing with budgetary concerns.
Michael Morell, the agency’s long-time deputy director, will serve as acting CIA chief for the immediate future. Mr Morrell was named deputy director in 2010 and is a career agency officer. he guided the agency’s analytic arm, producing strategic and tactical assessments for US policy makers and military commanders, according to his CIA biography.
He has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Akron and a master’s degree in economics from Georgetown University. He and his wife have three children.
Mr Petraeus has been married for 37 years to Holly Petraeus, whom he met as a cadet at the US Military Academy at West Point. She led an office within the new consumer financial protection bureau to safeguard military personnel and their families from financial fraud.
President Obama made no direct mention of Petraeus’ reason for leaving, but offered thoughts and prayers to the general and his wife, saying that Mrs. Petraeus has “done so much to help military families through her own work. I wish them the very best at this difficult time.”
James Clapper, director of national intelligence, said Mr Petraeus’ departure represented the loss of a public servant.
“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.”
Washington gossips speculated he wanted to become president of Princeton University but the timing of the annoucement came as a surprise following the re-election of the president two days earlier.