The Washington Post
Fri, 09 Nov 2012 15:59 UTC
Petraeus, a retired four-star U.S. Army general once considered a potential presidential candidate, met with President Obama on Thursday and said he was prepared to step down because of the affair. Obama accepted the resignation in a phone call to Petraeus on Friday, officials said.
"After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair," Petraeus said in a statement distributed Friday to the CIA workforce. "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."
The sudden departure created turmoil in the Obama administration's national security team just days after the president's reelection. That team is expected to see a series of changes in the coming months, but many believed that Petraeus would remain in his position.
In a statement, Obama said Petraeus has "provided extraordinary service to the United States for decades," adding that "through his lifetime of service David Petraeus has made our country safer and stronger."
Although the statement did not directly address Petraeus's reason for resigning, the president said that his "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."
Holly Petraeus is an assistant director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, charged with advocating on behalf of service members and their families. The two had met in 1973 at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where Holly's father was superintendent.
Petraeus was scheduled to testify next week on Capitol Hill in hearings on the deaths of four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador and two CIA security officers, in Libya in September. U.S. officials said Friday that the controversy surrounding that attack - and the administration's shifting explanations for it - played no role in Petraeus's decision to resign.
Petraeus had traveled to Libya and Jordan in recent weeks. CIA officials declined to explain the timing of his resignation, or discuss what prompted his decision to admit to the affair. Petraeus's 14-month tenure as CIA director is one of the shortest in agency history.
Michael J. Morell, who served as Petraeus's deputy at the CIA, is serving as interim director, a position he occupied for several months before Petraeus was sworn in. Morell is seen as a possible candidate to replace Petraeus, but there are others, including Michael G. Vickers, a former CIA paramilitary officer now serving as Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence.
Petraeus came into the CIA job after a highly decorated Army career that included command of the war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and made him one of the most highly recognized officers of his generation.
On Capitol Hill, he was regarded with reverence by many lawmakers. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Friday that she believed Petraeus's infidelity did not require him to resign.
"I wish President Obama had not accepted this resignation, but I understand and respect the decision," Feinstein said in a statement. She described Petraeus's resignation as an "enormous loss for our nation's intelligence community and for our country."
Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, also praised Petraeus's service in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family," he said.
Comment: The extramarital affair excuse just doesn't make any sense. "Petraeus was scheduled to testify next week on Capitol Hill in hearings on the deaths of four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador and two CIA security officers, in Libya in September. U.S. officials said Friday that the controversy surrounding that attack - and the administration's shifting explanations for it - played no role in Petraeus's decision to resign." Whatever Patraeus's role was during the Benghazi attacks, the opposite of what 'officials' are saying seems more plausible.
On October 26th the CIA spokesman, presumably at the direction of CIA director David Petraeus, put out this statement: "No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate. "
William Kristol at the Weekly Standard wrote:
So who in the government did tell "anybody" not to help those in need? Someone decided not to send in military assets to help those Agency operators. Would the secretary of defense make such a decision on his own? No.Human Events reports:
It would have been a presidential decision. There was presumably a rationale for such a decision. What was it? When and why - and based on whose counsel obtained in what meetings or conversations - did President Obama decide against sending in military assets to help the Americans in need?
Following Petraeus's announcement, a spokeswoman for the committee said that the hearing is expected to proceed as scheduled, though the CIA director's immediate resignation will likely change the witness list. It's not immediately clear if the CIA will send a replacement witness to testify, though CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell, now acting director is reportedly in line for Petraeus's position.