CIA Director Petraeus resigns
Central Intelligence Agency Director David Petraeus has submitted a letter of resignation, citing an extra-marital affair as the reason. NBC News reported the development Friday afternoon.
Petraeus, who was expected to stay on following President Obama's re-election Tuesday, apologized for "poor judgment." The president accepted Petraeus' resignation Friday.
The resignation marked a sudden end to the public career of the best-known general of the post 9/11 wars.
Full text of the resignation letter:
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
President Barack Obama praised Petraeus for a lifetime of service that Obama says "made our country safer and stronger."
Obama said Petraeus had provided "extraordinary service to the United States for decades." He made no direct mention of the reasons for the resignation, but offered his thoughts and prayers to the general and his wife, saying that Holly Petraeus had "done so much to help military families through her own work."
Obama says CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell will serve as acting director. The president says he's confident that the CIA will "continue to thrive and carry out its essential mission."
The resignation comes the week before Petraeus, along with State Department and FBI officials, face a host of questions during congressional hearings about the 9/11 terrorist attack in Libya that resulted in the deaths of four Americans.
Lawmakers have demanded to know whether or not there were requests for additional security ahead of the attack and if those requests were met. They also want to know who was responsible and whether or not the attack was planned.
Petraeus and others are expected to testify behind closed doors to the House Intelligence Committee, in addition to facing the congressional hearing.
Meantime, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is telling Congress that the military did not have armed aircraft near Libya that could have helped defend against the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
In a letter to Republican Sen. John McCain on Friday, Panetta specifically addressed the claim that the military could have dispatched armed unmanned aerial vehicles, AC-130 gunships or fighter jets to thwart the attack.
The Pentagon chief said these aircraft weren't near Benghazi and they were not an effective option.
Panetta insisted that the U.S. military did everything "they were in position" to do to respond to the attack and spared no effort save the four American lives.
New Pentagon details show that the first U.S. military unit arrived in Libya more than 14 hours after the attack on the consulate in Benghazi was over, and four Americans, including the ambassador, were dead.
A Defense Department timeline obtained by The Associated Press underscores how far the military response lagged behind the Sept. 11 attack, due largely to the long distances the commando teams had to travel to get to Libya.
The timeline shows that Panetta and his top military adviser were notified of the attack about 50 minutes after it began.
U.S. officials have released details on the response in an effort to refute news reports that said CIA personnel were told to "stand down" rather than go to the consulate's aid.
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