updated 11/23/2005 12:00:21 PM ET 2005-11-23T17:00:21

CNN has apologized for a “technical malfunction” that briefly flashed a black “X” mark over the face of Vice President Dick Cheney during the network’s coverage of a speech on Monday.

The “X” flashed twice, on the air for a total of one-seventh of a second, CNN said Wednesday.

The incident caused a brief sensation on the Web among people suspicious that it was a political commentary. But CNN said some of its machinery had a “momentary glitch” and no human operator was involved.

The “X” is something used by a computer to mark a space where one visual element is to segue into another, and is normally not seen by a viewer. The network likened its appearance to a computer that inexplicably freezes.

“We obviously regret that it happened and are working on the equipment to ensure it is not repeated,” the network said in a statement.

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