- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 20, 2014

Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Richard Stengel gave a peculiar apology to outraged Twitter users on Sunday after he tweeted #UnitedForGaza to his 15,000 followers.

In a tweet directed to the State Department, Mr. Stengel said, “Critical for a full, credible and unimpeded intl investigation of crash. Urge Russia to honor it’s [sic] commitment,” Twitchy first reported.

After receiving swift backlash, the tweet was deleted, and Mr. Stengel sent out a terse explanation.

“Earlier tweet with wrong hashtag was a mistake. My bad,” he said.

It wasn’t immediately made clear how Mr. Stengel tweeted the wrong hashtag. He would have had to type it incorrectly, or copy and paste it incorrectly, and he would have had to then press the “tweet” button to send it out. Mr. Stengel sent out a subsequent, almost identical tweet, but instead with the hashtag #UnitedForUkraine.

Twitter users weren’t buying Mr. Stengel’s apology.

“Please, enlighten us as to how one incorrectly uses a hashtag like #UnitedForGaza. Maybe autocorrect changed #UnitedForGaga?” tweeted Sean.

“‘My bad.’ That’s something a 12 yr old would say. Shameful that you represent this country,” said Rachel Ward.

Mr. Stengel, who was the managing editor of Time magazine from 2006 to 2013, was sworn in on February 14 as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. He oversees the bureaus of Educational and Cultural Affairs, International Information Programs and Public Affairs as well as the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, according to the State Department’s website.

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