"I hope he [Weiner] comes after me. Look up my IP. Nothing to hide here. I'd voluntarily hand anything they want over. Check me and my IP. Anything. I did not post that tweet."
Twitter user Dan Wolfe (known as @patriotusa76
) has clarified several details concerning his involvement in the "Weinergate" scandal, insisting that a thorough investigation of the tweets in question will prove he did not compromise the verified Twitter account of Congressman Anthony Weiner (D, NY-9). In a series of direct messages on Twitter, Wolfe explains how he found the offensive image sent from Weiner's Twitter account, his previous tweets about accounts followed by the Congressman, and his desire for law enforcement to investigate his online activity that night.
Asked whether he followed Congressman Weiner or the recipient of the controversial tweet, Wolfe states he "wasn't following either of them ever." He named several other twitter uses who he regularly communicates with, explaining, "Our twitter group mentions him a lot because he appears in media a lot and says things we hate a lot. If he wasn't saying anything, we wouldn't comment." Wolfe claims that on May 27th, the date the tweet went public, he navigated to the @RepWeiner
account by clicking on Weiner's username on a retweet in his Twitter stream. The tweet in question was the much-discussed one where Weiner announced the time of his upcoming appearance on the Rachel Maddow show with the hashtag #Thats545InSeattleIThink
. "I found the 5:45 tweet weird," Wolfe says.
Describing his discovery of the lewd yfrog-image tweet, Wolfe states, "It was after [Maddow's] show and after the [Seattle] tweet that I had clicked on there-- on his page, and he tweeted the pic to [redacted] and I clicked on it. I was shocked. I capped [screen captured] it. Capped the tweet, everything. That's all. Then I RT [retweeted]." His retweet of Weiner's account includes the same yfrog URL in screen captures and the TweetCongress archive of the original message. If Wolfe was not following both accounts, he would not have seen the tweet in his primary timeline, but if he was viewing Weiner's profile, he would have seen the account's latest tweets--even ones addressed to users Wolfe did not follow. By his admission of not following either account, Wolfe's claim rests on a coincidence--that he was at the right place at the right time.
Several websites have deemed this coincidence suspicious in light of Wolfe's mentions of Weiner before the "Weinergate" incident. Daily Kos blogger "Stef,
" in a "smoking gun
" update to a post claiming the tweet from Weiner's account was a "Twitter Hoax" involving Andrew Breitbart, sardonically notes that Wolfe predicted a sex scandal involving Weiner and explicit pictures on May 11th, over two weeks before Big Government and Big Journalism first reported "Weinergate." The author does not accuse Wolfe of hijacking Weiner's account to post the photo, but she does point out the coincidence that Wolfe was the only real-time witness and retweeter of the alleged lewd message when, weeks earlier, he spread that rumor and asserted "@RepWeiner loves young girls." Gawker author Max Read stated
that the recipient of the "Weinergate" tweet, through her statement to the New York Daily News
, "would seem to corroborate" Stef's "theories," adding that Wolfe "may be the person responsible for the Congressman's errant Tweet."
In response, Wolfe again cites his circle of like-minded Twitter contacts. "It's not just me--see my regular buddies here [redacted] [redacted], etc. We talk about him because he is always around." In Stef's screenshot of Wolfe's May 12th tweets, his linked screenshots of young women allegedly followed by Weiner belong to the yfrog account of one of the Twitter users he privately disclosed. Wolfe continues, "People noticed a pattern on him and our group, all of us--you can see ALL our timelines--not just me--we saw the pattern too."
Contrary to Stef's report, Wolfe first tweeted about Congressman Weiner and a sex scandal on May 5th, citing a friend's report of a right-wing blog rumor. The rumor vaguely claimed that a high-profile, northeast-region Democrat was involved in a sex scandal with photo evidence. Wolfe speculated that the politicians who fit that profile were Charles Rangel, Anthony Weiner, or Barney Frank, and he asked Weiner and Rangel one after the other
multiple times if they were involved in the scandal. One of Wolfe's final tweets on the subject on May 11th said it was his "hope" Weiner was the politician in question "if [the] rumor is true."
As for the insinuation that he hacked into Weiner's Twitter account, Wolfe understands that it's his word against the Congressman's, and he is eager for law enforcement to investigate his online activity. Citing "tons of threats wishing me dead, murdered, etc." in the wake of Daily Kos's and Gawker's articles, he states, "I wonder if I can call the authorities myself and ask for an investigation. It would clear me in minutes." Wolfe also remarked to blogger Ace of Spades
, "I hope he [Weiner] comes after me. Look up my IP. Nothing to hide here. I'd voluntarily hand anything they want over. Check me and my IP. Anything. I did not post that tweet."
The recipient of Weiner's controversial tweet has returned to Twitter and refutes any claim that she has accused Wolfe of hijacking the @RepWeiner account. She also laments her continuing media attention: "I'm pretty sure it's been 15 minutes; I'd like to fade back into oblivion now." In the conflicting accounts and interpretations of the weekend's events, one thing is clear: this mystery will be solved and the suffering of these two private citizens will cease most quickly with an official investigation of what IP address sent the controversial tweet from Congressman Weiner's account.