In an interview Wednesday, Rep. Anthony Weiner said he could not say “with certitude” that a photo of man’s crotch posted to Twitter -- a picture that has become the center of a small-scale media storm -- was not, in fact, a photo of him.
Weiner, a New York Democrat, maintained to MSNBC that he was the victim of a prank and that his Twitter account had been hacked by outsiders -- and that he had nothing to do with an apparent attempt to send the photo to a 21-year-old college student in Seattle over the weekend.
He said he had retained a private security firm to look into the matter, but had not referred it to Capitol police or the FBI because he does not want to “make a federal case” over it.
“I’m not sure it rises, no pun intended, to that level,” Weiner told interviewer Luke Russert.
“The implication here is that I did something wrong to someone else. I was the victim of a prank here,” he said. “I’m not sure that there’s anything more here than just a little bit of silliness.”
Weiner has continued to do interviews on the incident, despite his plea that the media move on.
He was also asked by Russert about why he follows a number of young women on Twitter. “People don’t simply understand that one of the things that goes on on Twitter is that you form networks with other people as a way of getting more followers,” Weiner said.
The 21-year-old student, Gennette Cordova, has denied knowing Weiner. The photo was instantly seized on by some conservative bloggers, and the controversy has mushroomed by the day, despite Weiner’s efforts to contain it.
Watch the interview below. (Note: the exchange about whether the photo was of Weiner was apparently omitted because of audio difficulties.)