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General Petraeus Announces Resignation, Admits to Affair

CIA Director General David Petraeus' bombshell resignation shocks political world.
3:00 | 11/09/12

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Transcript for General Petraeus Announces Resignation, Admits to Affair
Simply put, it was a shock today, when we learned that the general who symbolized the discipline and honor of the american military, the man entrusted with the vital secrets of the cia, general david petraeus, resigned, citing an extramarital affair. The first cia director in history to resign this way. And the story is still breaking. So, we go straight to abc's senior foreign affairs correspondent, martha raddatz. Reporter: Diane, this news is truly stunning. This is no one in the military who was viewed as more disciplined and, frankly, more concerned with his own image and own career. But the seriousness of having a cia director involved in an extramarital affair cannot be overplayed. As cia director, petraeus held all of the nation's secrets, but was keeping a big one of his own. Today, in a statement to cia employees, the man considered a national hero by some acknowledged the affair and what he called his extremely poor "Such behavior is unacceptable," the statement said. "Both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours." Petraeus went to the white house yesterday to turn in his resignation, the same place he has so frequently been called upon to serve. Great privilege to serve with our young men and women. Reporter: Today, in a statement, president obama praised petraeus' dedication and patriotism, and said his thoughts and prayers are with dave and holly petraeus. Holly and dave petraeus have been married 38 years. She was the daughter of the commandant of west point during petraeus' years at the military academy. Petraeus went on to a distinguished military career in iraq under george bush's tenure -- general david petraeus was asked to do a very difficult job and he did it with distinction and honor. Reporter: And then, for president obama, into afghanistan and then, the cia. But that is why this is so troubling. Certainly, others have been involved in extramarital affairs in congress and elsewhere, but having the director of central intelligence involved in an illicit affair with world leaders friend and foe watching his every move and almost certainly looking for you haver in shlt doctor vulnerabilit vulnerabilities. There is of course the question of why he chose to resign now. Officials tell abc news, the fbi was investigates petraeus' biographer, paula broadwell, for strange activity on the internet and then some e-mails were discovered in the course of that investigation that raised concern. Diane? Martha raddatz reporting in. And now we go to abc's white house correspondent jake tapper here to tell us what the white house is saying tonight. Jake? Reporter: Well, diane, senior white house officials tell us the overwhelming emotion here is surprise and, of course, sorrow, for a colleague and his family. White house officials were told about this on wednesday, the day after president obama was re-elected. They were told by the director of national intelligence, james clapper. On thursday, president obama was informed about this situation. The entire situation, the fbi investigation, as well as the affair. General petraeus called the national security adviser, said he wanted to talk to the president. At that meeting yesterday, he offered to resign. President obama thought about it and today called petraeus and accepted that resignation. The new acting director of the cia will be the number two, the deputy director, with whom president obama has worked closely during the osama bin laden raid, planning, for instance, and he has the inside track. But this does come at an awkward time for the cia. They are going to be called to congress next week to talk about what went wrong at benghazi and, of course, the cia is under constant pressure because of the threat of terrorist attack, diane. Thank you, jake.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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