CIA Director David Petraeus resigned from his post on Friday, citing an “extramarital affair” as his reason for stepping down.
“After being married for over 37 years I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair,” Petraeus said in a resignation letter obtained by CNN.
Petraeus reportedly submitted his resignation to President Obama on Thursday and the president accepted it on Friday.
Multiple sources have told NBC News that Mike Morrell, the deputy CIA director and a longtime CIA officer, will likely be offered the job as a fill-in, with the understanding he may be made permanent CIA Director later on.
“Morrell is a longtime CIA analyst and was an eyewitness to two of the most momentous events in recent U.S. history,” NBC News notes. “He was traveling with President George W. Bush on Sept. 11, 2001, as the president’s briefer, and was in the Situation Room on May 1, 2011, as deputy CIA Director, when Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden.”
President Obama confirmed the appointment of Morrell later on Friday afternoon.
Another possible replacement is Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, Mike Vickers, reports the Huffington Post.
“The prevailing wisdom is that Mike Vickers wants this with all his heart and soul,” an anonymous official was quoted as saying. Vickers is the legendary former CIA operative who led the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan chronicled in the book, Charlie Wilson’s War.
The CIA head was quickly becoming bogged down in the unfolding Benghazi scandal. On September 11, 2012, terrorists affiliated with Al Queda stormed the American embassy in Benghazi, Libya. Four Americans were killed in the attack, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
Controversy over security and assistance during the attack led the CIA to deny it refused aid to the besieged embassy, directly contradicting the White House. Two of the Americans killed during the attack were later revealed to be CIA agents, as were a large number of Americans on the ground at the site.
Speaking on CNN, former CIA operative Bob Baer noted that while resignations from extramarital affairs are not unheard of at the agency, they are almost never the announced reason for giving up the post.
“I think there’s a big story behind it,” Baer said.
Petraeus was sworn in as CIA Director on September 6, 2011. Prior to heading the department, Petraeus was a four-star general, serving more than 37 years in the U.S. Army.