CIA director David Petraeus has resigned from his post, admitting he had an extra-marital affair. In a statement, Mr Petraeus said he had submitted his resignation to President Barack Obama, and that he had shown "extremely poor judgement". He described his behaviour as "unacceptable" for the leader of the nation's main intelligence agency. Mr Petraeus became CIA boss in 2011 after heading international forces in Iraq, then in Afghanistan. He was the highest-profile military officer of the post-9/11 years, winning plaudits for his role running the "surge" in Iraq and implementing a counter-insurgency strategy in Afghanistan.
Mr Petraeus' resignation came just three days after President Barack Obama's re-election, and prompted a flurry of statements from the White House, intelligence community and Mr Petraeus himself. Announcing his decision to stand down, the former general was full of contrition. "After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extra-marital affair," Mr Petraeus said in a statement. "Such behaviour is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organisation such as ours. This afternoon, the president graciously accepted my resignation."
Mr Obama's statement said Mr Petraeus had "provided extraordinary service to the United States for decades", citing both his time as CIA director and service to the military. "By any measure, through his lifetime of service David Petraeus has made our country safer and stronger." "Going forward, my thoughts and prayers are with Dave and Holly Petraeus, who has done so much to help military families through her own work." James Clapper, director of national intelligence, thanked Mr Petraeus for his decades of service: "Dave's decision to step down represents the loss of one of our nation's most respected public servants," "I have spent more than five decades serving our country - in uniform and out - and of all the exceptional men and women I have worked with over the years, I can honestly say that Dave Petraeus stands out as one of our nation's great patriots."
CIA deputy director Michael Morell will serve as acting director of the agency, the White House confirmed. Eventually Mr Obama must nominate a new director to head the agency, who will then need to be confirmed by the Senate. Mr Morell, who is well respected at both the White House and on Capitol Hill, also served as acting director following the departure of former CIA chief Leon Panetta. The CIA faces a potential period of instability after Mr Petraeus' resignation, as it also deals with a budget plateau and questions over its response to a deadly attack at a US consulate in Benghazi, Libya.