The Corner

Why Was David Petraeus — Or Somebody in His Camp — Recording an Off-the-Record Interview?

The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward reported Tuesday that Roger Ailes urged David Petraeus to run for president, passing a message to him through Fox News analyst K. T. McFarland when she visited Afghanistan in the spring of 2011. Woodward obtained an audiotape of McFarland’s interview with Petraeus, during which she passed along Ailes’s message and indicated that he would even consider resigning his post at the Fox News Channel to run Petraeus’s presidential campaign. Interviewed by Woodward, Ailes claims he was joking and that McFarland was “out of line” in taking his suggestion seriously.

McFarland has responded to the brouhaha in a column on FoxNews.com, and she raises an interesting question. Why was her off-the-record interview tape record? Who tape recorded it? And why was it released, a year and a half later, to a member of the the press?   

Why was an audiotape created of what was supposed to be an off-the-record interview with just four people in the room, which General Petraeus himself said several times was off the record? I certainly saw no recording device, nor did I give my permission for the interview to be taped.  So who taped the interview? Why did they keep it hidden away for the last 18 months? Why was it released at this time to a Washington Post reporter?

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