ARLINGTON, Va. — Whoops, said the Pentagon, disregard that press release we just sent out from the Islamic civil liberties group.

Falling victim either to hackers or automated e-mail trawlers, the Pentagon’s American Forces Press Service inadvertently distributed a press release Wednesday from the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“E-mail subscribers of the American Forces Press Service today received a message, entitled ‘ISLAM-INFONET: “Hardball” Host Withdraws From Controversial FL Event,’ from a group not affiliated with the Department of Defense,” read an e-mail shortly after the press release was distributed to thousands of subscribers around the world.

“A processing error resulted in the unintentional distribution of that message,” the note explained.

“We have a number of people who try to spoof the system,” said an official with the AFPS. “We literally get a hundred of these a day.”

Spoofing is akin to impersonating — sending an e-mail out pretending to be from a known source.

He explained that hackers, as well as automated marketing computers, routinely try to break through security measures in place to prevent such abuse. Pentagon Internet guards must sift through each of them separating out hacks from actual official releases before the “send” button is hit.

“In this case,” he said, “we had just migrated to a new computer system and someone hit the wrong command.”

A spokesman for CAIR, a Washington-based Muslim advocacy group, said it had nothing to do with the infiltration.

“It wasn’t us,” said Ibrahim Hooper. “We didn’t even know there was such a list.”

Regardless, the Pentagon says it has boosted security.

“AFPS has taken steps to guard against a recurrence,” reads the blaster, “and sincerely apologizes for the inconvenience.”

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