CIA Director David Petraeus resigned from his post citing extramarital affair

What kind of  effect it may have on CIA and on the legacy of Petraeus?


David BarrettProfessor Department of Political Science, Villanova University

Petraeus has long had an outstanding reputation. While his career has been cut short by this, I think he did the right thing by resigning. CIA officers serving abroad have to be careful about romantic/sexual affairs; also U.S. military officers are actually violating a military regulation when they have such an extramarital affair. But he will always be remembered as an outstanding military officer. Since he wasn’t at CIA that long, I don’t think his reputation will be based very much on that, though I could be wrong.

The CIA is much bigger than any one leader, so it will go on; I wouldn’t think its functioning will be much affected. I trust that President Obama will find someone very talented to run the Agency. I don’t have any guesses as to who that will be.

The resignation of Gen Petraeus is a huge problem for a CIA already in some difficulties after the killing of the US ambassador in Libya, waterboarding and allegations of torture carried out in various sites including Europe. However and it is a big however this does allow a reelected president Obama to put clear blue water between the Bush era CIA and his second term. This will be an advantage and Obama will seize it gladly. But Petraeus was a good general and not the first middle aged man to cheat on his wife. My guess is that Obama gave him a push.

I don’t know who will succeed him. Could be a senior black figure like Colin Powell or someone new.

David AlvarezProfessor, Politics Department, Saint Mary’s College of California

I do not think it will have a major effect on the CIA. Any large bureaucratic organization has a life and a momentum independent of its immediate leader. The tempo of operations will not lessen and ongoing operations and plans will not halt. The impact will be greater inside the White House where the president and his staff, already heavily engaged in a range of crucial political negotiations with Congress, will now be distracted by the need to find a new director for the CIA.

Michael Smith,  Intelligence expert, Author of various books including – SIX: The Real James Bonds

The first thing to say is that this is a very sad moment because without Petraeus and his common sense approach in Iraq, America might have been bogged down there for far longer and might not have got out in the same relatively respectable way. He is a great loss to the administration and to the CIA. Michael J Morell who takes over is a safe pair of hands so the agency won’t suffer but Obama is likely to want to appoint his own man to take charge and it is not yet clear who that will be.


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