CIA Director David Petraeus resigned Friday, citing an extramarital affair and "extremely poor judgment."
As first reported by NBC News, Petraeus disclosed the affair in a letter released to the CIA work force on Friday afternoon, writing: "Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours."
Petraeus told President Barack Obama of his affair and offered his resignation during a meeting Thursday, a senior official told NBC News. In a phone call on Friday, Obama accepted the resignation, the official said.
Petraeus was appointed CIA director in April 2011, replacing Leon Panetta, who moved to the Pentagon to become defense secretary.
Petraeus served as commander of the war in Afghanistan in 2010-2011. Before that, he served as commander of the U.S. Central Command and as the commanding general of U.S. forces in Iraq. Because of those roles, he was seen as bringing a "customer's eye" to the intelligence job.
Multiple sources tell NBC News that Mike Morrell, the deputy CIA director and a longtime CIA officer, would likely be offered the job as acting director but with the understanding that he may be elevated to the job permanently at some point.
That's how George Tenet got the job, first as deputy director in July 1995, then acting director following the resignation of John Deutch in December 1996 and finally as director in July 1997, staying on in the Bush Administration.
Morrell is a longtime CIA analyst and was an eyewitness to two of the most momentous events in recent U.S. history. He was traveling with President George W. Bush on Sept. 11, 2001, as the president's briefer, and was in the Situation Room on May 1, 2011, as deputy CIA Director, when Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden.
Here is the full text of Petraeus' letter:
HEADQUARTERS Central Intelligence Agency
9 November 2012
Yesterday afternoon, I went to the White House and asked the President to be allowed, for personal reasons, to resign from my position as D/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. This afternoon, the President graciously accepted my resignation.
As I depart Langley, I want you to know that it has been the greatest of privileges to have served with you, the officers of our Nation's Silent Service, a work force that is truly exceptional in every regard. Indeed, you did extraordinary work on a host of critical missions during my time as director, and I am deeply grateful to you for that.
Teddy Roosevelt once observed that life's greatest gift is the opportunity to work hard at work worth doing. I will always treasure my opportunity to have done that with you and I will always regret the circumstances that brought that work with you to an end.
Thank you for your extraordinary service to our country, and best wishes for continued success in the important endeavors that lie ahead for our country and our Agency.
With admiration and appreciation,
David H. Petraeus
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