WeinerGate: Pranked. Hacked. Punked. Same Diff?

This afternoon MSNBC Congressional Correspondent Luke Russert got to spend time interviewing the man of the hour who of course is Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.). And here’s what happened…

RUSSERT: The picture that went over Twitter to Gennette Cordova from your account, is that you?

WEINER: Let’s keep in mind what happened here. I was pranked, I was hacked, I was punked whatever it is – someone sent out a picture. I’m an easy name to make fun of, and I think that’s what happened there. It’s a terrible thing that this poor woman got dragged into it. She says she knows nothing about it, and I obviously don’t know anything about it. I didn’t send the picture.

RUSSERT: That’s not a picture of you?

WEINER: You know, I can’t say with certitude. My system was hacked. Pictures can be manipulated, pictures can be dropped in and inserted. One of the reasons that I’ve asked a firm that includes an internet security arm is to take a look into what the heck happened here to make sure it doesn’t happen again. But let’s kind of keep in mind why this is so silly. You know, someone committed a prank on me. Someone somehow got access to my twitter account, and right away put up a picture that made fun of the name Weiner and that’s what happened.

RUSSERT: But Congressman, you would remember if you were to take a photograph of yourself like that.

See more Russert and Weiner… What’s more: Now we know more about that crowd of 45,000 that Weiner was speaking of at his presser — the one where someone throws a pie and him and all the media wants to yammer on about is that pie. He’s got 45,000 Twitter followers!

WEINER: Well you know one of the reasons we’ve asked an internet security firm to come in is to see if something was manipulated, maybe something was dropped in. We don’t know for sure what happened here. But let’s try to take a step back. This is a circumstance where someone committed a prank on the internet. Where someone spoofed me, made fun of me, whatever. We are taking taking it seriously in as much as we want to make sure that it doesn’t happen again, but this story has become a little bit out of control, to the point where people are asking me and asking people who follow me on Twitter, personal questions, people are asking me what other things are on your database?

RUSSERT: Well fair enough, but you will not flat out say that that photograph is not you?

WEINER: Here’s what I will say – I will say that we are trying to figure out exactly what happened – whether a photograph was manipulated that was found on my account. Whether something was dropped into my account, whether a photograph was partially in my account.

RUSSERT: So you never intentionally sent anything to Ms. Cordova?

WEINER: No, nothing. She says that, I’m saying that. Clearly, I’ve said that ever since Saturday when I said that originally. Look, this is a prank, intended I believe to make fun of me, to throw me off my game. I confess it’s done that a little more than I would’ve liked, which is why I got a little tense yesterday.

RUSSERT: But is it possible that that photograph was on your blackberry, on your computer, that you or somebody else may have taken of you and then someone hacked in and took it?

WEINER: This is the problem – we could theoretically keep following these questions. I’ve asked a firm who specializes in this, who does it for big corporations, to come in with internet security type people and try and do a forensic examination about what happened, if necessary to call in the authorities. But at some point, I think it’s fair to me to be able to say – enough, I’m done talking about this. I’m done going into what happened, why and who etc. I woke up this morning about a blogger who was trying to reach out and make innuendos about people I follow. It was a picture of my sister in law. This has gotten to be a completely ridiculous thing…

RUSSERT: But it’s a fair point for your constituents to know if there’s photographs of your area down there on your phone being sent out to people.

WEINER: I didn’t send anything to anybody. You’ve asked this a couple of times and I’ve tried to answer it. The person who was unfortunately part of this and was implicated in this, this young woman, has put out a statement saying that I don’t know her, she doesn’t know me. This seems to be what it looks like, which is one of thousands of instances everyday where people have their identity hacked or are made fun of or whatever. I’m a big boy, I can deal with it. I have 45,000 followers – some of them don’t like what I’m doing, many of them do.

RUSSERT: But identity theft is a serious thing, especially if you’re a member of Congress and you use this account to talk to your constituents. Why not bring in the Capitol Hill police or the FBI and say my account was hacked, I want a thorough investigation of what occurred so it won’t happen again.

WEINER: We’ll see what winds up coming back from the firm that’s looking into it. A couple of things to keep in mind, this wasn’t my government account. We don’t know exactly what happened here. It was a prank. You know, it is not a national security thing, I’m not sure I want to put national federal resources into trying to figure out who posted a picture on Weiner’s website of whatever. I’m not really sure if it rises  – no pun intended – to that level. And let me just say one other thing – I think it’s fair and reasonable to ask some of these questions – it was a prank, still I think it’s fair to ask these questions. I think we have to be careful not to take this out of context. This is not a national security matter. We’re not making a federal case out of this and I don’t think anyone else should. But the things that I do want to work on here in Congress are being interrupted by this which I think was the intention of the person that did it to begin with.