CIA Director David Petraeus has submitted his resignation just days after the re-election of President Obama, citing an extramarital affair.
His longtime wife is Holly Knowlton, whom he married two months after graduating high school. She’s the daughter of former West Point superintendent Lt. Gen. William Knowlton.
Petraus was named CIA director September 6, 2011, after a distinguished career as an American military superstar. He was a 4-Star U.S. Army general and NATO commander who led the “surge” in Iraq and oversaw the handover of power to the government in Afghanistan.
In the military, adultery is not only frowned upon but can result in a court-martial and potential dismissal. Paragraph 62 of Article 134 of the Manual for Courts-Martial is titled Adultery and reads in part:
Petraeus was set to testify next week in a closed-door Congressional hearing over the deadly attack on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012. He now says he will not testify as scheduled. During the presidential campaign, Republicans blasted the Obama administration for failing to prevent the attack and for failing to identify it as terrorism rather than a reaction to the hate film Innocence of Muslims.
According to a Drudge Report post in August, Petraeus was on the short list to be Mitt Romney’s VP running mate.
NBC sources say the likely replacement for Petraeus is Mike Morrell, now the Acting CIA Director.
Here’s the statement from Petraeus:
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.
Here’s the statement form Obama, via the White House:
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.