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CIA director Petraeus leaves post over affair

CIA Director David Petraeus has stepped down after only 14 months at the agency's helm. The decorated general turned intelligence official said he was quitting over an extramarital affair.

CIA Director David Petraeus, testifies before the US Senate Intelligence Committee during a full committee hearing on 'World Wide Threats.' on January 31, 2012 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Witnesses include: Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, FBI Director Robert Mueller(L); Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess; National Counter terrorism Center Director Matthew Olsen; Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research Philip Goldberg; and Homeland Security Undersecretary for Intelligence and Analysis Caryn Wagner. AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

CIA Direktor General David Petraeus

The head of the US Central Intelligence Agency unexpectedly announced on Friday that he was quitting the top post, according to a statement he sent to the CIA. Petraeus cited an extramarital affair as the reason behind his abrupt departure.

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US CIA chief steps down

"After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair," Petraeus said in the statement.

"Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours," the statement continued.

President Barack Obama, who received the intelligence chief's letter of resignation on Thursday, praised Petraeus for his service to the United States.

"By any measure, he was one of the outstanding general officers of his generation, helping our military adapt to new challenges and leading our men and women in uniform through a remarkable period of service in Iraq and Afghanistan," the president said in a statement on Friday.

National Intelligence Director James Clapper also issued a statement.

"Dave's decision to step down represents the loss of one of our nation's most respected public servants," Clapper said.

Petraeus was appointed CIA director by Obama in April 2011. Soon after, he officially retired from the US Army. The former general served in the military for 37 years. In 2007, Petraeus became the commander of the Multi-National Force in Iraq under President Bush. The following year, he ascended to the top of the Central Command, where he oversaw operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as other key missions in the Middle East. In 2010, he took over the direct command of forces in Afghanistan.

kms/rc (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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