By Teresa Welsh |
CIA Director David Petraeus resigned Friday after confessing to an extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. Petraeus was a former four-star general and top commander in Iraq and Afghanistan before he retired to lead the CIA in September 2011. Petraeus has been married for 37 years, and in a letter to CIA staff described his behavior as "unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours."
The affair apparently began after the general had left the military, where under regulations adultery can be a crime. The relationship reportedly began about two months after Petraeus had started his position at the CIA, while she spent extensive time with the general conducting research for her book, All In: The Education of General David Petraeus. She is also married.
The FBI uncovered the affair late in the summer after another woman, Jill Kelley, reported receiving "harassing" E-mails from Broadwell. High level FBI and Justice Department officials were informed, but Congress was not notified of any investigation. Sen. Diane Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the committee should have been informed, as an FBI investigation of the CIA director "could have had an effect on national security." An affair at the CIA is not a crime, but can be a security issue because it could make an agency employee vulnerable to blackmail.
Petraeus's resignation came the week before he was scheduled to testify before Congress regarding the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans in September. Feinstein said she still expects the former director to testify, and that she will use a subpoena if necessary.
CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell will serve as acting director, and may be named permanently to the position.
Should Petraeus have resigned as CIA director? Here is the Debate Club's take:
Lawrence J. Korb Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress
Heather Hurlburt Executive Director of the National Security Network