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ABC Mistakenly Releases ID in Page Probe

ABC Mistakenly Releases ID in Page Probe

ABC News' fleeting, inadvertent publishing of a computer screen name enabled a blogger to track down and make public the identity of a former congressional page who traded salacious messages with former Rep. Mark Foley.
In breaking the story of the now-burgeoning scandal, the network last Friday posted on its Web site a series of instant message exchanges between Foley and the teenager, Jordan Edmund, now 21. Edmund's name was not included.
But in one exchange the network inadvertently left his screen name on. It was quickly discovered and removed, replaced by a version with the name redacted. But a blogger was able to retrieve the deleted file, go on a computer detective mission and uncover the former page's identity.
Edmund, who now works on Republican Rep. Ernest Istook's campaign for Oklahoma governor, has not responded to requests for an interview.
Attorney Stephen Jones said he is representing Edmund in matters related to his work as a page and in reference to Foley.
In a news conference Thursday, Istook praised his employee, said the former page would cooperate with investigators and asked reporters to leave him alone.
"This is a young man who is bright," Istook said. "He is hard working. He does not deserve the public embarrassment that he's facing right now.
"I believe there is no justification for putting this young man in the national media spotlight when what he needs and deserves is Christian compassion," he added.
The blogger _ known as "Wild Bill" from the "Passionate America" site _ who discovered the former page's identity describes the computer detective mission in detail on his Web site. ABC has taken additional steps to make sure no one can access the deleted messages, a spokesman said.
"To be clear, no one visiting our Web site would have simply stumbled on the old version," ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider said.


Updated : 2021-04-22 09:25 GMT+08:00