The Internet was abuzz Saturday after it was reported that Rep. Anthony Weiner had apparently sent a lewd photo to a Seattle-area college student.
The New York Democrat quickly asserted that his online accounts had been “hacked” after Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com reported that Weiner’s Twitter account was used to send the photo, which shows the pelvic area of a man in gray undershorts with his tumescent penis bulging.
Late Friday night, a public message from Weiner’s Twitter account (@RepWeiner) included a link to the penis photo, posted on the YFrog.com photo-sharing network. That message was directed to a Twitter account identified as belonging to 21-year-old Gennette Nicole Cordova, a student at Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Washington.
Caches of Cordova’s Twitter messages appeared to show that on April 9 she sent a message: “I wonder what my boyfriend @RepWeiner is up to right now.” One of her friends on Twitter remarked the next day that Cordova’s “crush” on the congressman was “cute.” In one of his Twitter messages Friday announcing an appearance on the MSNBC cable network, Weiner made a joking reference to what time the show could be seen in Seattle.
Cordova’s Twitter and Facebook accounts were deleted Saturday — “Very odd,” New York reporter Liz Benjamin remarked — and the YFrog account that included the penis photo was also deleted. Media critic Lee Stranahan speculates on the motives for those deletions. While Weiner has made flippant references on Twitter to what was quickly dubbed “WeinerGate,” he has made no explanation of how the “hacking” took place. Attempts to reach the congressman’s press office were unsuccessful, blogger/talk-radio personality Peter Ingemi reported Saturday evening.
Weiner is married to former Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, and is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Jonathan Allen and Ben Smith of Politico reported late Saturday: “Weiner’s office did not respond to a request for comment on whether he has contacted federal authorities to report the alleged cyber-attack, which could fall under laws prohibiting cyberhacking and impersonating federal officials.”