The Christian Science Monitor

Got a story to tell (or sell)? Better back it up with a tape.

Some years ago, I accidentally carried a tape recorder into an interview with a senior national-security official in a secure US government building. (Actually, “accidentally” probably isn’t the best way to describe what happened. “Cluelessly,” or “without thinking” might be better descriptors.)

As a reporter, I was ushered around normal security by a media handler, which is how it happened. Upon entering the official’s office, I set my stuff down on his desk, and then peeled a newspaper off the top of the stack to reveal the offending item.

To me, the recorder was a means to accurately get down every word of an important conversation. To everyone else in the room, it was contraband of the highest order, a security breach on

'Guns or religion' and the 47 percentPresidential recordings

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