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Oopsie! Taliban outs mailing list

It seems that someone in the Taliban is still not quite au fait with the concept of the BCC.

"Hey, did you hear who the Taliban e-mailed those pictures of Paula Broadwell to?" AlJazeera/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

It's hard running a covert operation.

Just ask anyone at the CIA. People write e-mails not realizing who might one day read them.

I am sure, therefore, that many will have a feeling of "there, but for the grace of a Gmail account go I," when they hear that the Taliban appears to have exposed its whole mailing list.

The way ABC News posts it, an official spokesman of the Taliban, Qari Yousuf Ahmedi, sent out an invitation to a champagne and croquet event with insufficient dexterity.

Actually, it might not have been a champagne and croquet event. It was a press release.

He wished to forward it along to all the great and good of the Taliban's mailing list.

However, he forgot to insert their e-mail addresses in the little box marked "BCC."

So suddenly everybody on the list knew who everybody on the list was.

It mostly consisted of journalists, but there were also reportedly a few others such as a governor, a legislator, and a warlord -- individuals who might not always want to be seen at the same social events.

I don't believe people should be judged by the company they keep, anymore than they should be pilloried for an e-mail snafu.

All of us fraternize -- for one reason or another -- with characters of uncertain levels of sweetness.

It's just that we don't always include their names on e-mails to our lover, our confessor, or that nice honorary diplomat we met at a party in Tampa.