Petraeus: Yeah. Yeah.
Petraeus: Yeah. Yeah.
Q: And that’s their plan. You’re their problem.
Petraeus: [Laughs] I’m not.
Q: “I’m not” — okay. You can laugh all you want. Here’s the rationale.
Petraeus: They can never believe . . .
Q: I know. They’re probably related to [Pakistani President] Asif Ali Zardari. They are. But their plan is . . .
Petraeus: [Laughs] That’s right. [Laughter]
Q: Okay. But they think if you’re chairman, they can’t overrule you. They can’t go against whatever your advice is going to be, militarily. Plus, they have a Colin Powell problem. Where Colin Powell, very successful chairman, is everybody’s sort of rallying point to run for an office where there’s nobody that they think is — that the group can . . .
Petraeus: But of course he didn’t run.
Q: But he could have.
Petraeus: And he wouldn’t have. No.
Q: He could have. Politically, he could have. So they look at you and they think, how can we keep him quiet? We don’t want him out on the loose to potentially run in ’12, and we sure don’t want him in ’16. We’ll put him at the CIA, where he can speak publicly twice a year before an open session of Congress. No backgrounders to the press, no Sunday talk shows, no speeches, no nothing. Now, I’m throwing that out as gossip. Whether it’s true or not, whether it’s a bunch of Zardaris wandering around Washington. . . . But I’ve heard that from more than one person. I mean, I’ve heard that from some pretty significant and senior people.
Petraeus: Well, look, I mean, I can do math and reason, as well. But an awful lot of what we do in the future — believe it or not in Libya, right now, perhaps . . .
Petraeus: . . . is what that organization can do. So that’s . . .
Petraeus: And if you want to contribute. . . . I’m not out to go out and make money. The offers are unbelievable.
Q: No, you would’ve done that before now.
Petraeus: I would have done it long ago. So it really is about serving.
Q: So what do I tell Roger when he says . . .
Petraeus: Tell him I don’t. . . I mean, I don’t know what they’re going to offer me, anyway. I really don’t know.
Q: Okay. But there are only two. . . . So I can say something along the following lines . . .
Petraeus: Well, but don’t — that has to be off the record.
Q: There are potentially two jobs that you’d be interested in. His deal with me was that I was only supposed to talk to you.
Petraeus: Yeah, okay.
Q: And my deal with you will be, I sit down with him. And he is a little paranoid, so — believe me, he doesn’t have anybody in that room.
Petraeus: Sure. Yeah. Okay.
Q: Okay, so . . .
Petraeus: Well, so we’ll see what happens. Look, he gets to pick the chairman he wants, and the guy he’s comfortable with. That’s the deal. And if they’re uncomfortable with a guy who they know will be heard, then okay, so be it. That’s his choice.
Q: But you’re looking at something like the other one as potentially where you make the difference in Libya.
Petraeus: I think you can make a huge difference. I think that’s a national asset — I think it’s a treasure.