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Affair fells David Petraeus

Petraeus

WASHINGTON – David Petraeus has resigned as director of the CIA after admitting he had an extramarital affair.

According to his letter of resignation, Petraeus asked President Barack Obama on Thursday to allow him to resign, and on Friday the president accepted.

Petraeus said in a statement that he had shown "extremely poor judgment" in having an affair.

Petraeus, the United States' best-known general and the wartime model of a soldier-scholar-statesman, left the Army in 2011 to open a new chapter as director of the CIA.

He was sworn in as the nation's spy chief on Sept. 6, less than one week before the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

After a series of six command assignments as a general officer, including three in Iraq, many expected Petraeus would ascend to the military's top post, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Instead, President Obama asked him to take over at the CIA as part of a major shuffle of top national security officials that included Leon Panetta moving from the CIA director to succeed the retiring Robert Gates as secretary of defense.

Petraeus soared to public acclaim in 2007-08 with his surprising success in reversing an escalation of insurgent violence in Iraq.

At a September 2008 ceremony in Baghdad marking the end of Petraeus' 19 months in command, Gates credited him with dealing a "tremendous, if not mortal, blow" to an insurgency that two years earlier seemed beyond U.S. or Iraqi government control.

"I believe history will regard you as one of our nation's great battle captains," Gates told Petraeus.

He also is seen as one of the Army's most accomplished accumulators of personal publicity.

The Iraq war made him a household name. A July 2004 Newsweek magazine cover featuring Petraeus posing in front of a Blackhawk helicopter asked, "Can this man save Iraq?"

Petraeus has sometimes been mentioned as a potential Republican presidential or vice presidential candidate, although he said repeatedly that he had no interest in politics.

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