Washington: CIA Director David Petraeus has resigned over an extra-marital affair, saying his behaviour was "unacceptable".

The top intelligence official of the US submitted his resignation to the President Barack Obama during a meeting at the White House on Thursday. Obama has accepted his resignation. "Today, I accepted his resignation as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency," he said in a statement.

Petraeus, in a letter released to the CIA work force, has disclosed his marital affair. "After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgement by engaging in an extra-marital affair. Such behaviour is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organisation such as ours," he wrote in an email.

Obama said that he is completely confident that the CIA will continue to thrive and carry out its essential mission. "I have the utmost confidence in Acting Director Michael Morell and the men and women of the CIA who work every day to keep our nation safe," he said while praising Petraeus on his extraordinary service.

"David Petraeus has provided extraordinary service to the United States for decades. 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, where he helped our nation put those wars on a path to a responsible end," he said.

The US President said that as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Petraeus has continued to serve with characteristic intellectual rigour, dedication, and patriotism. Before joining the CIA, Petraeus successfully headed the US army operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Dave's decision to step down represents the loss of one of our nation’s most respected public servants. From his long, illustrious Army career to his leadership at the helm of CIA, Dave has redefined what it means to serve and sacrifice for one's country," James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, said.

"Since he took over as Director in September of last year, he and I have worked together to tackle some of the most challenging issues faced by the Intelligence Community in more than a decade," he said.

Under his leadership, the CIA remained instrumental in providing policy makers decision advantage through the best possible intelligence, Clapper said. "Whether he was in uniform leading our nation's troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, or at CIA headquarters leading the effort to generate intelligence used to keep our nation safe, Dave inspired people who had the privilege of working with him," he added.


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