In a Friday bombshell, General David Petraeus has resigned as CIA director Friday, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in a statement.
The resignation was submitted in a letter dated Friday and was accepted by the White House.
In the letter, Petraeus noted that he had been married for 37 years and had exercised "extremely poor judgment" in conducting an extramarital affair (see full letter below).
Petraeus had been the acting director of the CIA since September 6, 2011. Prior to his assuming the directorship of the CIA, Petraeus was a four-star general serving over 37 years in the Army. His last assignments in the Army were as commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A) from July 2010 to July 2011.
As a veteran of several wars, Petraeus was called in to salvage the fiascos in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to some extent, his measures worked. Admiral Mike Mullen compared Petraeus to Grant, Eisenhower, Pershing, and Marshall as one of the “great battle captains of American history."
His other four-star assignments include serving as the 10th Commander, U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) from October 2008, to June 2010, and as Commanding General, Multi-National Force - Iraq from February 2007 to September 2008. As commander of MNF-I, Petraeus oversaw all coalition forces in Iraq. He was best known for drawing up and orchestrating the Iraq “surge” of American troops.
Petraeus published a 14-point Military Review that openly defied former Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld’s strategy to win the war in Iraq with as little troops as possible in 2003. He argued for a more aggressive counterinsurgency strategy, more reconstruction projects, more cultural sensitivity, and more partnerships with the State Department and other civilian agencies.
The general's field manual on Counterinsurgency now influences the way military operations are being carried out, and it is widely believed that this strategy helped ameliorate the violence in Iraq. Petraeus’ views on nation-building (developed since his doctoral thesis on Vietnam and later military experiences in places like Bosnia and Haiti) have caught on, even though the former Bush administration once disregarded these ideas.
This summer, Petraeus was thought to be a candidate for vice president for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Presidential rumors also swirled around the general, especially after he visited a school known for hosting the presidential debates, New Hampshire's Saint Anselm College. Petraeus lives in New Hampshire. Despite these accounts, Petraeus has categorically asserted that he has no political ambitions.
He probably won't after this news, either. An affair typically sinks a rising political star's career (see Anthony Weiner ... John Edwards).
Petraeus was the highest serving conservatives in the Obama administration.
MSNBC acquired the full text of Petraeus' letter:
HEADQUARTERS Central Intelligence Agency
9 November 2012
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.
With admiration and appreciation,
David H. Petraeus