Secondo fonti anonime del Pentagono McChrystal non è stato così cretino da dire che il presidente non capisce nulla di Afghanistan "on the record". E' stato, invece, così cretino da dire che il presidente non capisce nulla di Afghanistan per non parlare del vice Joe "bite me" ("ciucciamelo") Biden "off the record". Rolling Stone, comunque, nega tutto.
"Many of the sessions were off-the-record and intended to give [reporter Michael Hastings] a sense" of how McChrystal's team operated, according to a senior military official. The command's own review of events, the official said, gleaned "no evidence to suggest" that any of the "salacious political quotes" in the article were made during a series of on-the-record and background interviews Hastings conducted with McChrystal and others. The official, one of many subject to a Pentagon advisory not to discuss the situation without authorization, spoke on condition of anonymity. He said he was motivated by what he described as untrue claims made by Rolling Stone. Two others with direct knowledge of the command's dealings with Hastings offered similar accounts. Rolling Stone executive editor Eric Bates categorically denied that Hastings violated any ground rules in writing about the four weeks he spent with McChrystal and his team. "A lot of things were said off the record that we didn't use," Bates said in an interview. "We abided by all the ground rules in every instance."