For those of you who have not yet heard the story of the ever-combative New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, sit back and enjoy the weirdness. According to Weiner, someone hacked into his Twitter account and sent out a picture of a man in his underwear with a noticeably enlarged “member.” Although first ducking the issue and hoping it would go away, Weiner now says that he certainly did not send the photo, but he adds that he’s can’t say for sure whether the photo is of him. Hmmmm…
Ok, here’s the story, and as you read it, please recall how just a few months ago, a Republican congressman, who was caught sending a shirtless picture, created a media storm and resigned from office. Weiner takes things up a notch with this one, but only now are the media starting to take notice.
First, according to news reports, Weiner’s Twitter account has over 50,000 followers. However, he only follows 198 people, one of them being Gennette Cordova — the recipient of the picture.
Andrew Breitbart first broke the story on his web site BigGovernment.com.
At first, Weiner blew off the story and would not comment. But as he now tries to put the story to rest, things just get weirder.
There were also questions about why the congressman, married recently to an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, was following the female college student on Twitter.
Chris Lehane, a veteran Democratic strategist, said he was surprised Weiner had not been more forthcoming sooner.
“You aren’t going to get by on a story of this nature without giving a comprehensive explanation,” Lehane said. “The only way you can put out a fire that has been ignited with bad information is to douse it with good information.”
Democratic strategist Steve McMahon said the congressman botched the first rule of crisis communications: getting out the facts as soon as possible.
“His answers have raised more questions than they’ve resolved,” McMahon said. “I’m amazed somebody as smart and media savvy as he is can’t see the impact of how he’s handled it.”
Now that he’s speaking out, people are shaking their heads at what he’s saying:
“We know for sure I didn’t send this photograph,” the seven-term congressman told reporters in the Capitol. But he told MSNBC he “can’t say with certitude” that the waist-down photo showing a man’s bulging underpants wasn’t him.
Pressed by reporters about whether it was him in the offending photo, Weiner said: “We don’t know where the photograph came from. We don’t know for sure what’s on it.”
So… he denies sending the picture, but “can’t say with certitude that it’s not him. Does he often take pictures of himself in his underwear?
On Tuesday, Twitter sent an e-mail to congressional offices outlining a series of basic security tips. According to the story on Politco.com, Twitter’s Adam Sharp wrote, “While we won’t comment on individual accounts, news reports of the past few days are a good reminder of the importance of actively protecting your account credentials.”
Sharp recommended congressional offices use strong passwords including numbers and symbols; use unique passwords for each website used; beware of suspicious links; don’t give out usernames or passwords to “untrusted third parties”; and make sure computers and operating systems are updated with upgrades and anti-virus software.
And so the story goes on. What do you think is going on here? Is it a personal matter or does it warrant an investigation? Weiner’s responses only seem to be leading to more questions, not answers.