David Petraeus. Photo Reuters
CIA Director David Petraeus has resigned his post as head
of the US' leading spy agency, saying he had engaged in an
extramarital affair and acknowledging that he "showed extremely
In a letter to the CIA workforce, Petraeus, 60, said he met
President Barack Obama at the White House on Thursday (local
time) and asked "to be allowed, for personal reasons, to
resign from my position."
"After being married for 37 years, I showed extremely poor
judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair," he wrote.
"Such behaviour is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the
leader of an organization such as ours."
Obama, who was re-elected to a second term this wek, said in
a statement he accepted Petraeus' resignation, praising him
for his work at the CIA and for leading US troops in Iraq and
Petraeus' departure, sudden and unexpected, appeared to end
the public career of a man who played a key role in the Iraq
war, led the US Central Command and commanded US and NATO
troops in Afghanistan.
It also threatened to usher in a period of instability at the
CIA, which is grappling with a plateau in its budget after a
decade of steady increases and is fending off questions about
its performance before and after the attack that led to the
death of US Ambassador Chris Stevens in Benghazi, Libya.
Intelligence sources said that Michael Morell, the agency's
long-time deputy director, would serve as acting CIA chief
for the immediate future.
Morell, who is well respected at both the White House and on
Capitol Hill, had previously served as acting director
following the departure of former CIA chief Leon Panetta.
Petraeus' wife, Holly, has been an advocate for US veterans
and head of the Office of Servicemember Affairs at the U.S.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.