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Petraeus on Scandal: 'I Screwed Up Royally'

The former CIA director, in a letter to a fellow general, addresses the affair that cost him his job
2:30 | 11/29/12

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Transcript for Petraeus on Scandal: 'I Screwed Up Royally'
We have a new development in the david petraeus controversy that cost the cia director his job. For the first time, we're hearing from the general himself about his affair with paula broadwell, in a letter to a friend and fellow general, he admits he, quote, screwed up royally. And abc's martha raddatz has the details from washington. Good morning, martha. Reporter: Good morning, george. Petraeus has talked largely through surrogates in the past few weeks. But he is communicating directly to friends. Telling them, his family will survive this. For the first time since he resigned as director of the cia, we're hearing from a seemingly candid david petraeus, writing in a personal letter to one of his former mentors. He said, dear jim. I can't thank you enough for your note, kind words and support. I can't tell you how much it all meant. I screwed up royally. I paid the price, appropriately. Reporter: Long-retired brigadier general james shelton, says he's been friends with petraeus for more than three decades and reached out to him after he resigned. Last week, he says petraeus wrote this note back. Team petraeus will survive. I have created an enormous difficulty for us. Reporter: In the letter, petraeus writes that his wi holly, is, quote, once again demonstrating how incredibly fortunate I was to marry her. Shelton says he was shocked when he learned about the former four-star general's affair with his biographer, paula broadwell. I didn't think he was expecting to happen what happened. Reporter: Shelton said he never met broadwell. But talked to her on the phone as she worked on her book. Even thanked in the book's acknowledgment for being wonderfully helpful. He said he found broadwell engaging. I don't think she wove a web around dave and dragged him in. I don't think that at all. I think it was mutual. Reporter: Shelton tells abc news, while he was disappointed, he thinks petraeus made a one-time mistake. And that's how I believe dave petraeus was that kind of guy. He wasn't looking for it. It happened. Reporter: Neither paula broadwell nor petraeus had any comment when we tried to reach them overnight. But, george, there are many here in washington who now wonder if this letter is the beginning of a carefully choreographed campaign by petraeus to rehabilitate his image. That would make some sense. Martha, thanks very much.

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

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