Weinergate: Private Investigation Will Not Do

Rep. Anthony Weiner’s comments today and yesterday raise new questions, and emphasize the urgent need for a full, official, and independent investigation of the allegation that one or more of his account(s) were “hacked.”

A new theory suggests that it would have been possible for someone with Weiner’s private yfrog email address to send a picture to that address which would then appear on his Twitter feed as if Weiner himself had sent it.

That means someone other than Weiner, who had “hacked” or otherwise obtained his yfrog email address, could have “pranked” him.

Yet the same result would have occurred if Weiner had emailed an image to his own yfrog account, and only would have occurred once he had authorized yfrog to use his Twitter account. Weiner appears to have had no knowledge or understanding of the yfrog feature.

The yfrog feature, in other words, proves nothing–it only suggests that Weiner could have been both “hacked” and “pranked.” And again, he could simply have sent the link to the offending yfrog image himself, from his mobile device or another source. The conflicting theories cry out for investigation.

Weiner said today that he did not send the photograph, and that a reference to Seattle in one of his tweets was a “terrible coincidence.” We are prepared to take him at his word. Yet he repeated his initial claim that his account had been “hacked”–an allegation that calls for an official, not a private, investigation.

And even if we assume everything Weiner has said is true, he still has not given a clear or credible answer about whether the image is of him; he has not explained why other images were deleted from his yfrog account; and he insists on an internal investigation that will report to him alone.

Hacking into private accounts, impersonating a federal elected official, and deleting evidence that may be subject to federal investigation are each criminal offenses. Failure to report suspected cybercrime is also a breach of House of Representatives rules.

The American people deserve to know whether these violations, having been alleged or described, actually occurred.

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