LONDON – The anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks today issued a public apology for what it termed a “programming error” that resulted in the accidental release of all deleted messages of the world’s e-mail users.
“We sincerely regret this error,” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said in the statement, “and we apologize to all those who may be affected by this unfortunate release of their previously private electronic communications.”
“That includes, but is not limited to Terry Franklin of Wilmington, Delaware,” said Assange, “who in any case should probably have been more circumspect in writing to others about his boss’s mental capacity.”
According to Assange, the accidental publication of the world’s approximately 18,000,000,000,000 deleted e-mail messages – the largest single “dump” in WikiLeaks’ history – was caused by one of the organization’s programmers, who inadvertently pressed the “Enter” key on his keyboard instead of the “Shift” key.
“While there is obviously no excuse for this error,” Assange noted, “it is worth noting that the ‘Shift’ and ‘Enter’ keys are right next to each other on the keyboard.”
“In that regard,” said Assange, “it’s clear that the world’s computer keyboard manufacturers also share responsibility for this mishap.”
Asssange commented that it is still too early to gauge the full impact of the accidental release, given the amount of time that it will likely take news organizations and others to sift through the trillions of documents now available for public scrutiny.
“For example,” Assange said, “it could be months or even years before Connie Wilson of Tampa, Florida, finds out that her sister Trish thinks that she’s ‘a flippin’ idiot’ for marrying her unemployed boyfriend Doug.”
“If ever,” Assange added, “given that Trish once wrote that Connie is ‘a hopeless birdbrain when it comes to computers.’”
And, despite the embarrassment which the WikiLeaks error is likely to cause the billions of e-mail users impacted, Assange said he hopes that the release of everyone’s sent and received e-mail will ultimately contribute to furthering the organization’s goals of greater transparency and openness.
“Particularly for Byron Bachmann of Stillwater, Wisconsin,” Assange noted, “who certainly should have told his wife Michele years ago that he thinks President Obama is ‘a hunk.’”