From former press secretary Rich Galen's blog:
The problem with senior corporate, military, or government executives is: They each believe they are the smartest person in any room they are in, and can intimidate and/or charm anyone into doing their bidding.
For senior corporate, military, or government executives; I have this advice.
1. Have people around you who have the authority to tell you (verbally or otherwise) to shut up.
2. Do not have people around you who are more interested in being invited to the Radio-TV Correspondent's Dinner than they are in protecting your interests.
3. Do not ever think that off-the-record means off-the-record. Unless you have worked with a reporter for years - YEARS - you can bet on this: If it's juicy enough, it's on-the-record.
In the end, though, every senior person is responsible for the decision to do an interview or not. And every senior person is responsible for the words that come out of his (or her) mouth.