Special relationship? What special relationship?

The State Department on Thursday repudiated comments by one of its officials who suggested the U.S.-British "special relationship" was a myth, calling his comments "ill-informed … and just plain wrong."

Kendall Myers, a research analyst with the department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, was quoted by the Daily Telegraph Web site as saying: "There never really has been a special relationship or at least not one we’ve noticed."

"As a State Department employee, now I will say something even worse: It has been from the very beginning very one-sided," the official added, according to the Web site.

Myers was reported to have made the remarks during a forum on Tuesday at the Johns Hopkins Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, where he is an adjunct professor and has taught for about 30 years.

It was unclear whether the comments had strained U.S. relations with Britain, but the State Department was quick to reject them.

"We repudiate and disassociate ourselves from those comments. The comments, frankly, I think could be described as ill-informed, and I think, from our perspective, just plain wrong," State Department spokesman Tom Casey told reporters.

The United States and Britain have long been said to enjoy a "special relationship" based on their wartime alliances and shared history and language.

Officials from the Bureau of Intelligence and Research had spoken to Myers about the matter, Casey said, adding that "once all the information has been gathered, then the department will look at what actions might be appropriate."

In October, another State Department official caused a stir when he told the Al Jazeera Arabic news channel the United States had shown "arrogance" and "stupidity" in Iraq. He later apologized for the remarks.

© Reuters 2006