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AP spills VIP contact details on Lycos.de

'NOT FOR PUBLICATION ON ANY WIRE'

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Hats off to the Vienna bureau of the Associated Press. Hard working hacks there published a list of VIP telephone number on the Web by mistake yesterday in what can only be describe as a 24 carat gaffe. Names included far right Austrian politician Joerg Haider and the direct line of supreme NATO spokesman Jamie Shea. Of course, it could have been a hoax, so The Register called a couple of the numbers just to see if they were for real. Shea, we were told in both French and English, was away for the week on business in the US. A UN soldier told us we had dialled into the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE). And what was supposed to be the number for the foreign desk of the New York Times turned out to be a theatre. Still could have been a wrong number. The list also contained IDs, passwords and numbers to dial in, one assumes, to AP's computer system in Vienna. And under the heading "PREPAREDNESS" it gave details of a 600-word story profile on former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic for "when he surrenders or is arrested". Mr. Carrotdick will be pleased. So how did this information appear on lycos.de? AP says it was a "computer glitch". Even so, you'd think with the headline "NOT FOR PUBLICATION ON ANY WIRE" someone would have figured it out. ®

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