Gen. David Petraeus
General David Petraeus
Washtington, DC -- Several US officials say former CIA Director David Petraeus carried on an affair with his biographer and reserve Army officer Paula Broadwell.
The officials say the FBI discovered the relationship by monitoring Petraeus' emails, after being alerted Broadwell may have had access to his personal email account.
For the director of the CIA, being engaged in an extramarital affair is considered a serious breach of security and a counterintelligence threat. If a foreign government had learned of the affair, the reasoning goes, Petraeus or Broadwell could have been blackmailed or otherwise compromised.
CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell will serve as acting director following Petraeus' departure.
Petraeus submitted his resignation to President Obama.
In a statement sent to the CIA workforce today, Petraeus said he went to the White House Thursday to ask the president to accept his resignation. The president accepted his resignation today.
"After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair," Petraeus said in the letter to the CIA workforce. "Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours."
Petraeus took over as director of the CIA in September 2011. Mr. Obama is expected to release a written response to Petraeus' resignation later today.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in a statement that the CIA director's decision "represents the loss of one of our nation's most respected public servants."
"From his long, illustrious Army career to his leadership at the helm of CIA, Dave has redefined what it means to serve and sacrifice for one's country," he said.