06.01.11 5:50 PM ET
Anthony Weiner Photo Scandal: Rep. Says Picture Could Be Him
Weiner: 'I Didn't Send That Picture'
During an interview with MSNBC's Luke Russert Tuesday, the New York Democrat tried to clear things up about his alleged lewd-photo hack, but appeared to only muddy the waters. "I didn't send that picture out," he said, adding that he took it seriously and said he had hesitated to contact law enforcement because he didn't want to waste federal dollars on the matter. "I'm not sure it rises—no pun intended—to that level," he said. He also reiterated his statement that he doesn't know the woman to whom a crotch shot was sent from his Twitter account, and that she doesn't know him. But Weiner offered a puzzling statement about the photo. When Russert asked him to confirm that the picture didn't show him, he replied, "I can't say with certitude."
Is Weiner's Excuse Credible?
How easy is it to hack a Twitter account, anyway? The Daily Beast's tech expert, Dan Lyons, says it's not very difficult. You don't have to find out the person's password for most social-networking accounts, Lyons reports. Instead, you just need to trick a site into letting you reset someone's password. The system will validate your identity by asking you to answer one or two security questions, like "What is your father's middle name?" or "What is the name of your favorite pet?" And that stuff, these days, is pretty easy to find.
Weiner Lawyers Up
Weiner has hired an attorney to explore "what civil or criminal actions should be taken," according to his spokesman on Monday, who added the congressman was "loath to treat" the incident as more than a prank, "but we are relying on professional advice." At Daily Kos, stef lays out the case for its being a hoax; also, the woman to whom the explicit photo was directed on Twitter says she has had no "inappropriate exchanges" with the representative and had been harassed by conservative activists for weeks before the incident. (One conservative activist, suspiciously, even predicted in early May that the Dems would soon have a Chris Lee–like scandal.) The conservative blog The Prudence Paine Papers, however, uncovers some evidence of prior sketchiness from Weiner on Twitter, when a porn star said he had messaged her.
From the Archives: Weiner's Playboy Past
Before his 2010 marriage to Huma Abedin, an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Weiner was known as one of Washington's most eligible bachelors, with a long and glamorous list of exes. But perhaps no incident is as infamous as his encounter with a young staffer two days after September 11, 2001, recounted in a Vanity Fair article that year. David A. Graham reports.
Watch: Anthony Weiner Not Helping His Case on Rachel Maddow