Dem leaders to Weiner: This has to end

Makes sense — New York Democrats aren’t thrilled with him either — but what more do they want him to do that he hasn’t already done? There’s only one option available to a powerful congressman who has personal access to scores of high-ranking law enforcement officials: Hiring a private security firm, of course. And he’s already checked that box.

His conscience is clear.

“It’s frustrating because we’ll talk to him, and say clean it up, and then he goes out and does stuff,” said the member of the House Democratic leadership, who declined to speak for the record about private discussions with Weiner.

“He’s got to put the period at the end of the sentence,” said the Democratic source, “it’s painful.”…

“I told him that he needs to handle this and he needed to give the facts accurately to the public,” [Steny] Hoyer said…

In conversations with several of House Democrats, what frustrates them the most is that they believe he stepped on good political news for them this week, like the swearing in of Rep. Kathy Hochul, D-New York, who won a special election in a traditionally Republican district, and another House vote on a GOP plan to overhaul Medicare, which Democrats hail as a winning issue for them.

Ever the loyal robotic partisan, DNC chief Debbie Wasserman-Schultz continues to insist that this is a “personal matter” even though (a) Weiner’s spokesman has publicly alleged that hacking, a criminal offense, was committed against him not once but twice and (b) an incidence of hacking against a congressman obviously has national security implications. Writing at Big Government, GOP Rep. Cliff Stearns elaborates:

There is an obligation for Rep. Weiner to enable the delineation of what happened and how it happened so that we can enhance our cyber security. At the very least, he should have informed the House Information Resources division of this breach for investigation.

We need to recognize the seriousness of online crimes. Identity theft is the fastest growing type of fraud in our nation, and the Federal Trade Commission estimates that identity theft costs consumers $50 billion a year. Yet, this goes far beyond a crime against consumers…

Every American faces these threats to our privacy, our economy, and our national security, and we should all make every effort to bring these instances to light so that we can better enhance our cyber security. That includes members of Congress such as Rep. Weiner.

The AP confirms that, yes indeed, it would be exceedingly easy for the police to get to the bottom of this. But only the police can do it: Coincidentally, Twitter will only release IP logs if ordered to do so by a court or by subpoena, which complicates things for the sleuths at that “private security firm.” Another complication is that the data might be perishable. If Weiner delays long enough, Twitter may simply end up erasing the logs in the normal course of business, which would mean we’ll never know for sure what happened. And yet, knowing all of that … Weiner still delays. Curious. Do you suppose he’s aware that involving the authorities and then lying to them about what happened could place him in legal jeopardy?

Maybe we’ll find out what happened after all:

Of course, the simplest explanation of the scenario is that he had, in fact, tried to send a picture of his genitals to a 21-year-old Washington state college student. Weiner has denied that in public and in private. Two people who spoke to him privately said he had suggested that, as one said, “he took or sent a photo or photos like this at some point — but in this case actually was hacked/set up, perhaps with a posting of one of his own photos or something very similar.”

“If that is the reality, there is no magic, good way to handle it,” Dezenhall said. “You have what lawyers call a ‘bad fact.’”

Ace has been toying with (and discarding) theories of how a picture of Weiner’s actual wiener might have ended up in his Twitter stream without him sending it, but I can’t get past why AW would settle on that spin instead of simply denying everything. Mickey Kaus speculated that it’s a deliberate piece of misdirection, bolstering Weiner’s credibility by making him seem (sort of) forthcoming and distracting the media from the fact that he hasn’t called the cops. Except they haven’t been distracted: The AP piece I linked above about how easy this would be for the cops to solve was published just this morning. And needless to say, any PR benefits that accrue to Weiner from appearing kinda sorta candid are more than offset by his hinting that there may well be bona fide “bulge” photos of him floating around. If his goal is to kill this story, he’s better off admitting that he tried to send the photo than suggesting that there’s some mystical as-yet-undiscovered cache of Weiner wiener pics out there for the media to hunt for.

He was supposed to address the Wisconsin Democratic Party tonight but he canceled at the last minute to, er, spend more time with his wife. Exit question: Is this scandal over now? The news cycle flows inexorably on, my friends, which means unless this guy is dumb enough to start talking about this again on Monday — a distinct possibility, given his performance this week — it might be out of gas. While you mull, a bit of musical inspiration for you. Content warning.