WASHINGTON: The Obama administration has apologised to a number of foreign diplomats who were turned away from a White House reception because of a ‘computer glitch’.
“It’s a non-issue. I am surprised why it has been blown out of proportion,” Ambassador Husain Haqqani told Dawn.
The annual event — hosted by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at the ornate East Room on Tuesday afternoon — is considered a high-powered networking session and is popular with the diplomatic corps.
Ambassador Haqqani explained that somehow the White House computer mixed up the names and dates of birth of about 30 ambassadors, causing the security staff to ask the envoys to wait till they corrected the data.
“The Romanian ambassador and I decided that since it was a brief event and would have been over by the time the data was sorted out, we better go home,” Mr Haqqani said.
“It was a simple mistake, no hidden message for anyone,” he added.
“The Saudi Arabian and Russian ambassadors were also among those asked to wait.”