CIA Director David H. Petraeus didn’t initially intend to resign from the position just because he’d been involved in an extramarital affair, until it became clear that his indiscretions would become public, says two longtime military aides.
Petraeus, in a letter last week to CIA staff, said his affair with Paula Broadwell was “unacceptable both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours,” and made it appear that he stepped down because of moral obligation.
However, some of his closest advisers, who worked with him in Iraq, told the Washington Post Monday that the retired four-star general planned to stay in the job, even after he acknowledged the affair, hoping it would never become public.
But, while it appears he resigned because he felt it was the right thing to do, he quit after being told to step down by Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., on the same day President Barack Obama was re-elected.
Peter Mansoor, a retired Army colonel and Petraeus’ executive officer during the surge in Iraq, said he talked with the former general Monday.
Obviously, he knew about the relationship for months, he knew about the affair, he was in it, so yes, he was not going to resign. But once he knew it was going to go public, he thought that resigning was the right thing to do. There is no way it would have remained private.
Steven Boylan, who was the general’s public affairs officer in Iraq, agreed:
[He] felt he had to [resign] once he knew it would be made public. He didn’t feel he could lead the organization with this being out there.