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November 10, 2012

CIA director Petraeus quits over affair

WASHINGTON — David Petraeus, the retired four-star general renowned for taking charge of the military campaigns in Iraq and then Afghanistan, abruptly resigned Friday as director of the CIA, admitting to an extramarital affair.

The affair was discovered during an FBI investigation, according to officials briefed on the developments. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the matter.

Petraeus carried on the affair with his biographer and reserve Army officer Paula Broadwell, according to several U.S. officials with knowledge of the situation. They spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation that led to the resignation publicly.

The FBI discovered the relationship by monitoring Petraeus’ emails, after being alerted Broadwell may have had access to his personal email account, two of the officials said.

Broadwell did not respond to voice mail or email messages seeking comment.

Petraeus’ resignation shocked Washington’s intelligence and political communities. It was a sudden end to the public career of the best-known general of the post 9/11 wars, a man sometimes mentioned as a potential Republican presidential candidate. His service was effusively praised Friday in statements from lawmakers of both parties.

Petraeus, who turned 60 on Wednesday, told CIA employees in a statement that he had met with President Barack Obama at the White House on Thursday and asked to be allowed to resign. On Friday, the president accepted.

Petraeus told his staffers he was guilty of “extremely poor judgment” in the affair. “Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours.”

He has been married for 38 years to Holly Petraeus, whom he met when he was a cadet at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.

Obama said in a statement that the retired general had provided “extraordinary service to the United States for decades” and had given a lifetime of service that “made our country safer and stronger.”

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