CIA Director David Petraeus resigned Friday, citing an extramarital affair and “extremely poor judgment.”
As first reported by NBC News, Petraeus disclosed the affair in a letter released to the CIA work force on Friday afternoon, writing: “Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours.”
Petraeus told President Barack Obama of his affair and offered his resignation during a meeting Thursday, a senior official told NBC News. In a phone call on Friday, Obama accepted the resignation, the official said.
Petraeus was appointed CIA director in April 2011, replacing Leon Panetta, who moved to the Pentagon to become defense secretary.
Petraeus served as commander of the war in Afghanistan in 2010-2011. Before that, he served as commander of the U.S. Central Command and as the commanding general of U.S. forces in Iraq. Because of those roles, he was seen as bringing a “customer’s eye” to the intelligence job.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told NBC News that Petraeus’s personal mistake should not have led to his departure.
“I would have stood up for him,” Feinstein said in response to his indiscretion. “I wanted him to continue. He was good, he loved the work and he had a command of intelligence issues second to none.”
Feinstein said she respects Obama’s decision to accept the Petraeus resignation, but wishes he hadn’t.
She also said Petraeus will not need to testify at Benghazi hearings she is chairing next week.
Multiple sources tell NBC News that Mike Morrell, the deputy CIA director and a longtime CIA officer, would likely be offered the job as acting director but with the understanding that he may be elevated to the job permanently at some point.