Taliban Spokesman Accidentally Copies Mailing List On Press Release Email

from the oops dept

You know that mistake you make, where you want to send an email to a bunch of people, typically annoying chain letters about finding love next week if they forward it to twenty people immediately (luck doesn't just wait around, you know), but you don't want to expose all of your friends' and family's emails so you blind copy everyone...except you didn't. Now you're the jackass sending emails with forty addresses listed and your grandmother hates you for spamming her?

Grandma
"Why is my grandson trying to help me find love? I'm 200 years old."
Image source: CC BY 2.0

Well, funny story: it turns out that one of the few things we freedom-loving folks in the States have in common with our Taliban enemies is an amusing incapacity to check to whom we're sending our emails. Take a look at the oops Taliban spokesperson, Qari Yousef Ahmedi, made when he accidentally CC'd, rather than BCC'd, the Taliban's mailing list on a press release email this past Saturday.

In a Dilbert-esque faux pas, a Taliban spokesperson sent out a routine email last week with one notable difference. He publicly CC'd the names of everyone on his mailing list. The names were disclosed in an email by Qari Yousuf Ahmedi, an official Taliban spokesperson, on Saturday. The email was a press release he received from the account of Zabihullah Mujahid, another Taliban spokesperson. Ahmedi then forwarded Mujahid's email to the full Taliban mailing list, but rather than using the BCC function, or blind carbon copy which keeps email addresses private, Ahmedi made the addresses public.
I'm sure years from now, when the CIA has once again employed the Taliban to fight on our behalf against the Chinese-Australian-Alien Alliance, we'll all look back on this and have a nice laugh, but there's no understating that this is a massive screw up. Sure, most of the folks on the distribution list were journalists, but exposing their names that way, particularly for those that are working within Afghanistan, isn't a good thing. Besides that, not all the people who were exposed were journalists.
[The list] also includes an address appearing to belong to a provincial governor, an Afghan legislator, several academics and activists, an l Afghan consultative committee, and a representative of Gulbuddein Hekmatar, an Afghan warlord whose outlawed group Hezb-i-Islami is believed to be behind several attacks against coalition troops.
Somehow I don't see this making the Taliban brass very happy. And Senator Joe Lieberman wants internet services to block Taliban messages? Why? Let them keep making these kind of mistakes.

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Filed Under: cc, email, taliban


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  1. icon
    Paul Renault (profile), 16 Nov 2012 @ 3:37pm

    Well-troden territory - The Terrorist as Gumby. (No, not the plasticine figurine.)

    Bruce Schneier, Portrait of the Modern Terrorist as an Idiot
    http://www.schneier.com/essay-174.html

    Byman & Fair, The Case for Calling Them Nitwits
    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/07/the-case-for-calling-them-nitwits/30813 0/

    Max Fisher, The Incompetent Terrorist
    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/05/the-incompetent-terrorist/56272/

    Tim Harford, Dumb Bomb
    http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/the_undercover_economist/2007/07/dumb_bomb.html

    ..as well as many other essays.

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