Tale of the Tape: Okay, they are alleging what I thought they were alleging ...

And the Globe and Mail has it on the record from PMO deputy communications director, Dimitri Soudas:

{…}Dimitri Soudas, a spokesman for the Prime Minister, said in a later e-mail that the edits changed the meaning of Mr. Harper’s comments, and that one of them inserted a question to misrepresent his answer.

Mr. Soudas said that change “creates a question that was never asked” about an allegation that his party had offered a $1-million life insurance policy to terminally ill Mr. Cadman, an Independent, and that Mr. Harper replied, “I don’t know the details …”

“When the PM says he does not know the details, he is not answering a question about the insurance policy for [Mr. Cadman’s wife],” Mr. Soudas said in the e-mail. […]

One of the breaks identified by the experts comes early in the recording, where Mr. Zytaruk asks Mr. Harper if he knows anything about the life insurance policy.

“I don’t know the details. I know that um, there were discussions, um. But this is not for publication?”

Wednesday, Mr. Soudas wrote in an e-mail: “The edits change what the PM told Zytaruk during that interview. “… When the PM says he does not know the details, he is not answering a question about the insurance policy for Dona.”

It’s worth pointing out that neither of the audio experts that party lawyers consulted go nearly as far as Soudas. (Read their affidavits – and the rest of the filing – here, courtesy of Stephen Taylor, who has put the entire package online.)

While they agree that there is an “anomaly” at the crucial 1:45 mark, neither states – or even suggests – that the all-important question on the insurance policy was “inserted” – and, perhaps more interestingly, neither seems to want to comment on their findings, according to the Globe: “Mr. Gough declined to comment; Mr. Olsen did not respond to a telephone message.”

As I wrote in my earlier post – back when I was getting the identical (I mean, word for word) line from a Conservative who, unlike Soudas, wasn’t willing to go on the record – this is a sensational allegation. But as yet, it’s still an allegation — it’s far from a statement of fact, no matter how many times James Moore may repeat the phrase “the tape was doctored.”

It also raises as many questions as it answers.

Why didn’t the Prime Minister come forward with this assertion – that the question was never asked – when the story first broke? Wouldn’t he have realized immediately upon hearing the tape of the interview that his answer had been taken wildly out of context? And wouldn’t he have mentioned it in the affidavit he swore just two days ago – after his lawyers had received the preliminary forensic reports?

This is also the Conservatives’ most direct attack yet on Zytaruk – who has categorically denied that the tape was edited. No one else – not the Liberals, not the publishing house – would have had the motive, or opportunity, to splice in a question that wasn’t asked at all. Even if they had managed to, I don’t know, break into his house, and replace his original tape with a doctored version, when he listened to the tape, Zytaruk, one has to assume, would realize immediately that the question had been added after the fact, since he was the one who asked it – or didn’t ask it – in the first place.

Finally, why was it left to PMO to provide the details of the alleged “doctoring” when it was the party that released the allegedly incriminating evidence? Why was Dimitri Soudas willing to go public with the claim that the question was “never asked” when neither James Moore nor Ryan Sparrow would do so just hours earlier?

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