David Petraeus, a respected military leader who many saw as a very strong contender for President of the United States in 2016, just experienced the worst kind of PR scandal: He resigned today from his post as head of the CIA, citing an extramarital affair.
Petraeus, a four star general and nearly 40-year veteran of the US Army, came to great national prominence while leading the multinational force in Iraq from 2008-2010 under both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama. Sources say that Petraeus met with Obama yesterday to tender his resignation and that the CIA’s acting director, Mike Morrell, will soon take his place. His letter:
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
Yet another promising career seems to have been cut tragically short by personal misconduct. We wish we could draw a PR lesson from this scandal, but beyond the obvious we have very little to say.