David Petraeus, the retired four-star general who led the U.S. military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, has resigned as director of the CIA after admitting he had an extramarital affair.
READ STATEMENT RELEASED BY PETRAEUS AND A STATEMENT RELEASED FROM PRESIDENT OBAMA BELOW
The resignation shocked Washington's intelligence and political communities, representing a sudden end to the public career of the best-known general of the post 9/11 wars.
According to a statement he sent to CIA employees, Petraeus asked President Barack 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.
Obama said in a statement that the general had provided "extraordinary service to the United States for decades" and had offered a lifetime of service that had "made our country safer and stronger."
The president said that CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell would serve as acting director. "I am completely confident that the CIA will continue to thrive and carry out its essential mission," Obama said.
Petraeus has been married for 37 years to Holly Petraeus, whom he met when he was a cadet at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
In his statement, he said to Obama, "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."
Though Obama made no direct mention of Petraeus' reason for leaving, he offered his 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."
The director of national intelligence, James Clapper, said in a separate statement that 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."
A statement from Petraeus was released on the CIA's homepage. Read below:
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
The following statement was released by President Barack Obama:David Petraeus has provided extraordinary service to the United States for decades. 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. As Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, he has continued to serve with characteristic intellectual rigor, dedication, and patriotism. By any measure, through his lifetime of service David Petraeus has made our country safer and stronger.
Today, I accepted his resignation as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. 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. Going forward, my thoughts and prayers are with Dave and Holly Petraeus, who has done so much to help military families through her own work. I wish them the very best at this difficult time.
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