The resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus has brought a sudden and unexpected end to the public career of a four-star general who led U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and was thought to be a potential candidate for president.
Petraeus admitted to an extramarital affair in tendering his resignation, which President Barack Obama accepted Friday.
Petraeus carried on the affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell, a reserve Army officer, according to several U.S. officials with knowledge of the situation. They spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to discuss publicly the investigation that led to the resignation.
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.
CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell will serve as acting director, Obama said. Morell was the key CIA aide in the White House to President George W. Bush during the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
"I am completely confident that the CIA will continue to thrive and carry out its essential mission," Obama said.
The resignation comes at a sensitive time. The administration and the CIA have struggled to defend security and intelligence lapses before the attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three others. It was an issue during the presidential campaign that ended with Obama's re-election Tuesday.
The CIA has come under intense scrutiny for providing the White House and other administration officials with talking points that led them to say the Benghazi attack was a result of a film protest, not a militant terror attack. It has become clear that the CIA was aware the attack was distinct from the film protests roiling across other parts of the Muslim world.
Morell rather than Petraeus now is expected to testify at closed congressional briefings next week on the assault on the consulate in Benghazi, which occurred on the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Ivan BetinovPrevious incarnations of the Soviet have used crude methods (after all, what would you expect from a Georgian peasant) of fear, imprisonment, even execution to combat the enemies of the State.
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