Washington (CNN) — The career-ending affair that led to the resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus had its roots in a multi-year friendship, a flattering book and a young writer who was taken with the four star-general’s leadership style.
The affair came to light during an FBI investigation of a complaint that author Paula Broadwell, 40, was allegedly sending harassing e-mails to another woman close to Petraeus, a U.S. official said. Here’s a look at an anatomy of an affair:
Broadwell met Gen. David Petraeus when he spoke at Harvard, where she was a graduate student, according to the preface of the book she co-authored, “All In: The Education of General David Petraeus.” She told the general about her research interests and he agreed to put her in touch with people studying the same issues. “I later discovered that he was famous for this type of mentoring and networking, especially with aspiring soldier-scholars,” Broadwell wrote.
Broadwell began her Ph.D. dissertation on Petraeus and his innovative leadership skills. Some interviews were done via e-mail. Others were conducted on occasional jogs with him, including one run Broadwell took with Petraeus and his team along the Potomac River in Washington.
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CIA Director David Petraeus stepped down Friday, November 9, 2012, citing an extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. Many questions surround the affair, including why it was necessary for Petraeus to resign and the future of his marriage to his wife, Holly. Here’s a look at other U.S. sexual scandals that led to political stumbles and downfalls.
Former president Bill Clinton’s denial of his affair with then-intern Monica Lewinsky jeopardized his seat in the Oval Office. News of the affair surfaced in 1998, and Clinton became the second president to be impeached by the U.S. House when he was brought up on charges of lying to a grand jury and trying to influence the testimony of others but wasn’t removed from office. He is still married to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-New York, caused a stir in Washington in 2011 when he was caught using social media to communicate with at least six women other than his wife, Huma Abedin. Weiner left office in his seventh term in Congress. Shortly after his resignation, news broke the Abedin was pregnant with their first child. Today, the couple is still married, and Weiner is a stay-at-home dad to their 6-month-old son. Weiner rejoined Twitter earlier this month.
Eliot Spitzer earned a squeaky clean image as the attorney general of New York who took on Wall Street corruption from 1999 to 2006. From there, he moved to the governor’s mansion in Albany in 2007. But the Democrat was stopped in his political tracks when his liaisons with high-paid prostitute Ashley Dupre surfaced, and he stepped down as governor in March 2008. He briefly went on to anchor and now hosts “Viewpoint'” on Current TV. He is still married to Silda Wall Spitzer.
John Edwards, the former NC senator and Democratic presidential hopeful, saw his political career spin off track when he finally admitted in 2008 that he was unfaithful to his cancer-stricken wife, Elizabeth Edwards. Edwards at first denied the affair but ultimately came clean about fathering a child with his campaign videographer, Rielle Hunter. Prosecutors accused Edwards of illegally using hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to keep his pregnant mistress under wraps, but he was granted a mistrial on May 31, 2012. Elizabeth Edwards died in 2010.
When then-South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford went MIA for nearly a week in June of 2009, his staff told the public he was out hiking the Appalachian Trail. But when the Republican was spotted at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, he decided to come clean about the mysterious hiking trip and quite a bit more. Sanford admitted he was not hiking, but visiting his Argentinian mistress in Buenos Aires. Though his wife, Jenny, said she was open to reconciliation, Sanford was head-over-heels for paramour Maria Belen Chapur. The Sanfords divorced. He became engaged to Belen Chapur in August.
Former actor and California Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger made headlines in 2011 when his longtime wife, journalist Maria Shriver of the Kennedy clan, filed for divorce after learning Schwarzenegger had fathered a son with the couple’s housekeeper. Schwarzenegger recently began talking publicly about the affair, released an autobiography and made a return to acting. He has said he hopes to win Shriver back.
Photos: Public figures, private missteps
Broadwell moved with her husband, Scott, to Charlotte, North Carolina, according to the Charlotte Observer.
Petraeus was tapped to replace Gen. Stanley McChrystal as the top commander in Afghanistan. Broadwell decided to turn her research into a book and follow Petraeus to that country. “We had a relationship before I went there as far as this dissertation was concerned, so it just took it to another level,” Broadwell told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin in February.
August 31, 2011
Petraeus retires from the U.S. Army, leaves Afghanistan.
September 6, 2011
Petraeus sworn in as CIA director and returns to the Washington area.
Petraeus and Broadwell began their affair about two months after he took over at the CIA, according to a Petraeus friend.
E-mails began appearing in Petraeus family friend Jill Kelley’s inbox — e-mails she says were harassment. The Petraeus affair first came to light when an FBI investigation looked into a complaint that an anonymous writer was sending harassing e-mails to Kelley, 37, a U.S. official said. Broadwell was later determined to be the writer.
Broadwell and Petraeus end their affair about four months ago, a decision reached mutually, and the two last talked about a month ago, Petraeus’ friend said.
September 11, 2012
U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in a terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi. The subsequent fallout fueled Republican criticism of the Obama administration’s foreign policy. The administration pointed to incomplete intelligence reports for early statements that the attack grew from a demonstration over an anti-Muslim movie.
Broadwell was interviewed twice by FBI investigators. They also gained access to her computer and discovered emails that turned out to be from Petraeus. Petreaus was also interviewed once during that same time frame, a U.S. official said.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was made aware of an extramarital affair involving Petraeus, Doug Heye, a spokesman for the congressman, told CNN. Heye said Cantor, a Republican, was tipped to the information by an FBI employee. The congressman had a conversation with the official, described as a whistle-blower, about the affair and potential national security concerns involved in the matter, he said.
November 6, 2012
America re-elects President Barack Obama. The same day, Petraeus told Director of National Intelligence James Clapper about the affair, according to a senior U.S. intelligence official. Clapper then advised Petraeus to resign, the official said.
November 9, 2012
Petraeus, 60, steps down, admitting to an affair. The House and Senate intelligence committees were informed of the FBI investigation the same day, prompting outrage from House and Senate members. Petraeus’ resignation came just days before he was scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee about the Benghazi attack.
November 13, 2012
Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, is under investigation for “potentially inappropriate” e-mails with Jill Kelley, a senior defense official told CNN.
CNN’s Dana Ford, Phil Gast, Michael Pearson, Carol Cratty, wires and staff contributed to this report.