One of the most vivid scenes in the stories comes when you are out with the general, his wife, and his team for a night on the town in Paris. His team is entirely forthright with you, did that surprise you?They were also stuck in Europe for a while due to the volcano, and the whole visit turned into something much longer than expected.
Well, they were getting hammered, I don’t know at that moment if they were being the most forthright. Of course it was surprising. A lot of the reporting that is getting most of the attention happened right away in the first few days in Paris. So I was surprised—because they didn’t know me.
Okay, I can see it: military men who've been stuck in Kabul and Kandahar are in Paris with wives and the wine is flowing and there's some reporter along but who cares . . .? It makes more sense that this was a case of loose tongues on a European liberty rather than a conscious decision to go on record about these things. Either way, of course, it was a stupid move, but this makes it a little more humanly comprehensible. Also:
It was always clear that you were a reporter and you were, in essence, on the record? And more, the entire article was thoroughly fact-checked, yes?Even if some of those present didn't know he was a reporter, anything said in front of a civilian could come back to haunt. Loose lips still sink ships, even if there aren't many ships in Afghanistan.
Yes. It was crystal clear to me, and I was walking around with a tape recorder and a notepad in my hand three-quarters of the time. I didn’t have the Matt Drudge press hat on, but everything short of that it was pretty obvious I was a reporter writing a profile of the general for Rolling Stone. It was always very clear.