According to NBC, Petraeus wrote in his resignation letter that he used "extremely poor judgment" in carrying out the affair. His resignation was accepted by the White House on Friday after Petreaus met with President Barack Obama on Thursday, Politico reported.
According to the Huffington Post, "MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell broke the news Friday afternoon, reading Petraeus' resignation letter on air."
Petraeus, a four-star General, had only held the CIA position for about a year, after replacing Leon Panetta. Previously, he led the US-headed international military force in Afghanistan, part of a long and distinguished military career.
The Washington Post wrote that "the sudden departure created immediate turmoil in the Obama administration’s national security team just days after Obama won re-election.
NBC reported that "multiple sources" had told the outlet Petraeus may be succeeded by Mike Morrell, the CIA's deputy director. According to Politico, Obama said in a statement that he had faith in Michael Morrell, the deputy director, who would become acting director.
In the same statement, Obama said Petraeus “provided extraordinary service to the United States for decades,” according to Politico. “By any measure, he was one of the outstanding General officers of his generation."
The president added, "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. I wish them the very best at this difficult time.”
NBC published what they said was the full text of Petraeus' letter online:
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
Reactions to the surprise resignation of the long-time military leader on social media included skepticism that an affair was truly to blame, with some users musing that the September attack on the Benghazi US consulate may somehow have been involved.