There’s something else that journalists calling Der Spiegel would have learned. “We have a policy at Der Spiegel when we do a question and answer session to provide a transcript to our counterparts in case they want to have a minor thing changed,” says Müller von Blumencron, who says Zand verified that Maliki’s aides received the publication-ready advance copy. They had no response, and presumably no complaints, before its release.

Der Spiegel has no plans to release the tape (“We don’t see a need to improve upon our credibility by, say, putting the audio on the web.”) but is happy to play it—in person, over the phone—for any journalist interested in verifying.

“Anyone who wants to hear it can hear it,” says Müller von Blumencron. “But no one else has asked.”

If you'd like to help CJR and win a chance at one of 10 free print subscriptions, take a brief survey for us here.

Clint Hendler is the managing editor of Mother Jones, and a former deputy editor of CJR.