David Petraeus Resigns from CIA Over Affair

Four-star general says he "showed extremely poor judgment" by having extramarital affair.
3:00 | 11/09/12

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Transcript for David Petraeus Resigns from CIA Over Affair
Major news ought to be -- administration today General David Petraeus has resigned. As director of the CIA. This is part of the statement that was released from the CIA and Petraeus saying which quote. Yesterday afternoon I went to the White House and asked the president to be allowed for personal reasons. To resign from my position as director of CIA after being married for over 37 years. I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair such behavior is unacceptable both as a husband. And as the leader of an organization such as ours now he went on to say the president has graciously accepted that resignation. Petraeus took over as head of the CIA last September following. His time as head of the allied forces in Afghanistan. And I want to bring in Louis Martinez who was at the Pentagon has been following this story who will ask you how -- this story generate throughout -- day. Weld and this kind of group the bubble of very slowly this afternoon their initial reports -- Petraeus was going to discuss his future at the White House. I was able to get a US official who confirmed that Petraeus. -- would be arriving at the White House or had had some kind of White House meeting. -- but was very leery about talking about exactly what might be going down. He kind of hinted that something might be coming down later in the day. All of a sudden and other news -- -- Jay Carney briefing at the White House briefing room Carney was asked specifically early on whether. Petraeus was coming to the White House he he said I know of no plans then later when the news broke. That he had resigned he said he confirmed that the president would have something more to say about it later so this was something that have been building slowly throughout the afternoon. And then kind of hit that Washington like a break in this is just a stunner -- officials here in this building at the Pentagon that are just stunned. Surprised by the whole thing obviously General Petraeus with as many decades of service as a top general in Iraq and Afghanistan as you mentioned. Has a -- supporters in the building and also over the years has earned it -- good share of detractors but this is something that you could never have imagined coming down. A one of the things it was always talked about was Petraeus -- dedication service. And his. Classic commitment. He has he has been commander of the international security assistance forces commander of US forces in Afghanistan. Proceeded by Leon Panetta who. Is it in and by many respects is a very widely regarded -- very well respected as well as you mentioned -- David Petraeus during that same kind of respect as well. Do we know at this point who potentially could replace him with a -- and acting deputy that will be stepping into his role. Well we think the top choice right now is going to be acting deputy. Mike morale morale actually ran the agency for several months prior to betrays his arrival this was the little period in between -- Panetta left to come over here depending -- And Petraeus is winding down his leadership over in Afghanistan. Excelled morale is a leading candidate he obviously has. He is a career lifer at the agency highly respected and operator -- And in Maryland -- -- his whole career. And I was he knows the building inside and out off I'm certain elements -- go ahead -- But one of the things -- gonna say is that the traces of resignation is going to have. Not just its detractors -- its critics. Here in Washington in terms of the affair but also. About the political ramifications and the undertones potentially the connections in -- and had to the attack in -- -- Petraeus and the agency have come under fire the last couple weeks. -- -- slowly emerging pictured at the CA was heavily involved in protecting the consulate. An embassy in Benghazi and whether -- actions were appropriate. That is exactly what it was intricate and wanted to ask you about that because of the timing of this thing a lot of people are gonna say that might be a little too coincidental are already starting to hear that kind of rumor mill -- to generate. We you know it'd be dangerous thing about the Internet is that rumor spread quickly -- haven't had a chance to check it out there but I can see in the people already out there speculating. That there must be some high end. Privately I think you're gonna hear a US officials say that this is really what is it's it's plain white and simple. This was an -- -- -- those behind this and this was not anything to do. -- -- -- The timing is going to raise some eyebrows because. Petraeus being one of the top two intelligence officials here. For some very tough closed hearings. Where -- -- in here a lot of questions from members of congress. About what was what the US knew about -- Ghazi prior to attack and what the response was. I I think is pretty certain currencies and tie -- but privately and Marty hearing from officials stressing that this has. Nothing new in the short term though how much of an impact does that make and this kind of announcement on the day to day operations of the CIA. Well obviously the it's that it's a tiered structure. A lot of -- get done by the deputy who morale that we were talking about. But of course. Like any agency here in town and that structure -- you can fill in the gap if something happens and I think that's what you're gonna see. Now in terms of -- long term continuity. On the question becomes whether morale becomes a long term choice four CIA -- they look elsewhere. But for now it's going to be morale so in the short term I don't foresee any changes. Obviously every director. Every leader of any organization here in this town brings his own stamp. Petraeus was known as a by the book kinda guy a little more. Rigid in his handling of the agency than Petraeus was Petraeus. It then Panetta excuse me -- Earned a reputation during his stint at the CIA. For having earned the the respect and admiration of the workforce something inhabit the start. And Petraeus came in he was seen as an outsider. And and he too has built his respect but in a different way. Do we know has the secretary of defense -- has he made any kind of a statement reaction to this week we have not seen anything from Panetta at least that I have the time that I've been here. This is something that this has been developing quietly over the last day -- a statement said that he met with the president yesterday afternoon. So I'm pretty sure that says senior leaders like Panetta and Clinton may have known about this earlier today but so far I have not seen any. Aren't -- Martinez at the Pentagon Louis thank you so much -- and of -- -- breaking news coming up this afternoon from Washington from the Pentagon in fact. The CI -- CIA director David Petraeus is stepping down after admitting to an extramarital affair. Of course we'll have the latest on abcnews.com. As the story continues to develop.

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

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