Rep. Anthony Weiner Denies Tweeting Lewd Photo, But Won't Comment On If It's Him
Rep. Anthony Weiner won't comment on whether the lewd photo is of him.
June 1, 2011— -- A defiant Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York told ABC News he did not post a lewd photograph to his Twitter account Friday -- but he could not say whether or not the photograph in question is of him.
"I did not send that photo. My system was hacked. I was pranked," Weiner said. "Somebody sent a picture of a wiener from Weiner's account. I've been hearing that joke since I was five."
But is the photograph -- a close up of a man's underwear -- a photograph of Anthony Weiner?
"I'm reluctant to say anything definitively about this because I don't know to what extent our system was hacked," he said.
Weiner said he has hired a law firm to look into the incident and advise him on whether to notify a law enforcement agency. The firm has also retained a private Internet security company to investigate the circumstances of the hoax further, he said.
"We are going to try to find the source of the photograph," Weiner said, adding that he doesn't know if it was manipulated or something taken off -- or placed on -- his computer system.
When pressed to explain why an alleged incident of computer hacking against a member of Congress shouldn't be reported to authorities, Weiner dismissed the idea as unnecessary.
"You know, we're not treating this like it's a federal offense or a capital offense crime," he said. "It happens hundreds of thousands of time every single day."
At one point, Weiner suggested he was saving taxpayer money by not calling for an investigation into such a trivial matter.
Weiner also revealed that his Facebook account was simultaneously "hacked" on Friday night, as he suggested in a tweet at the time.
"I got locked out of my Facebook page. Someone apparently got in there. It happens all the time," he said. "When I orginlaly tweeted I assumed that's what had happened."
Asked if the Facebook hacking included the posting or sending of anything inappropriate, Weiner would not answer.
The congressman has more than 42,500 fans on Facebook and more than 53,000 followers on Twitter, according to his profile pages.
Weiner himself follows 198 Twitter users, most of whom are political figures, journalists, professional athletes and Hollywood stars. But a handful are random users -- including many young women -- from across the United States.
"Is it inappropriate for a member of Congress to be following young women on their Twitter accounts [who are] not even from their district?" ABC News asked Weiner.
"The implication is outrageous," Weiner replied.
"I went out and I asked, 'Do people want me to follow you?' I have followed people who have asked me to follow them. I follow many people. You know, I follow Sarah Palin. I follow Paul Ryan," he said. "Do you really believe I know the age, I know the positions, I know the job descriptions of everyone who askes me to follow them because I say yes?"
Weiner explained to reporters Tuesday that he occasionally reaches out publicly to his lengthy list of electronic friends to ask if they want to be followed. He tells them to tweet him a reply with #WeinerYes in the message to be added to his list.
Most recently, the congressman tweeted on May 13: "Thanks so much for following me. Would you like me to follow you? Use #WeinerYes."
Two days later, he tweeted again: "Thanks for all the #WeinerYes tweets. Now I'm #WeinerSwamped. I'm gonna do some #WeinerFollowingYou adds today."
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