- The Washington Times - Friday, June 3, 2011

By now, the country is abuzz with the recent scandalous episode about a lewd, waist-down photograph sent from the Twitter account of Rep. Anthony D. Weiner, New York Democrat, to a female college student purportedly showing Mr. Weiner scantily clad in gray underpants (“Weiner’s Twitter trouble,” Comment & Analysis, Friday).

Mr. Weiner nonetheless vigorously claims that he did not send the sexually suggestive photograph and that it was instead the work of some unknown hacker. Despite the fact that hacking into a social media account such as Twitter is a crime, Mr. Weiner has steadfastly declined to refer the incident to the appropriate federal authorities. To make matters worse, Mr. Weiner could not say that the picture was not of him, leaving open the likelihood that the photo does indeed show the lower portion of his body. In light of these revelations, Mr. Weiner finds his underwear snagged on the horns of a dilemma. If he turns the matter over to the federal authorities, claiming that some third party sent the photo to the college student and it later turns out that he sent it, he invites criminal prosecution for lying to the authorities.

On the other hand, if he does nothing to identify the sender of the photograph, he would leave himself open to the charge that he sent it. Therefore, he apparently has settled for a flimsy solution (a “private” investigation), in an effort to defuse an allegation of a cover-up. To make matters worse, some of the remarks made by Gennette Cordova, the college student in question, are equivocal at best. For example, reports say she claims that there had “never been any inappropriate exchanges between her and the congressman,” leaving open the possibility that there were other Twitter exchanges that were appropriate - at least in her mind. Alas, the full story is yet to be told.

HARRISON E. MCCANDLISH

Alexandria