CIA chief Petraeus quits over extra-marital affair

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CIA director David H Petraeus, one of America's most decorated four-star generals, resigned on Friday after an FBI investigation uncovered evidence that he had been involved in an extra-marital affair.

Petraeus issued a statement acknowledging the affair after President Barack Obama accepted his resignation. The disclosure ended a triumphant re-election week for the President with an unfolding scandal.

Government officials said the FBI began an investigation into a "potential criminal matter" several months ago that was not focused on Petraeus. While inquiring into whether a computer used by Petraeus had been compromised, agents discovered evidence of the relationship as well as other security concerns.

Administration and Congressional officials identified the woman as Paula Broadwell, co-author of a biography of Petraeus, All In: The Education of General David Petraeus, published this year. She could not be reached for a comment.

Broadwell, a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point, spent 15 years in the military, according to a biography that had appeared on her website. She spent extended periods of time with Petraeus in Afghanistan, interviewing him for her book, which grew out of a two-year research project for her doctoral dissertation and which she promoted on a high-profile tour that included an appearance on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.

She is married with two children, and has described Petraeus as her mentor.

Senior members of Congress were alerted to Petraeus's impending resignation by intelligence officials about six hours before the CIA announced it. One Congressional official who was briefed on the matter said that Petraeus had been encouraged "to get out in front of the issue" and resign, and that he agreed.

"After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extra-marital affair," Petraeus said in his statement. "Such behaviour is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organisation such as ours. This afternoon, the President graciously accepted my resignation."

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