CIA Director David Petraeus resigned Friday, citing an extramarital affair and “extremely poor judgement.”
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.
So how does this affect morale among the country’s intelligence and military community? NBC Latino contributor Danny Vargas is an Air Force veteran who has dealt with national security matters. “The men and women who serve in the intelligence community are among the most professional people I have ever interacted with,” Vargas says. “In terms of image, I think it might have more of an impact on the public, but this will not affect the work of the men and women handling national security,” he adds.
Here is Petraeus’ resignation 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
-NBC Latino’s Sandra Lilley contributed to this report.