We’re now in the media camp out phase of Weinergate. Today, a medium to large sized gaggle of media photographers and videographers are loitering around outside Rep. Anthony Weiner’s Capitol Hill office, obviously hoping to get him to say something about the story that has dogged him since Friday night. Weiner emerged earlier to try to get them to leave, by talking up Wednesday’s interviews he did with five networks. The gaggle apparently didn’t budge. As long as he won’t answer the question of whether that’s him in the photo or not, they’re not likely to leave until editors just get tired of this story. I’m already there — pretty tired of it. But Weiner is now counting on wiener fatigue to get him out of the mess.
All that business of theories and counter theories last night got a whole lot of bloggers lost in the weeds, so it’s probably a good idea to get back to the facts. The fact is, though Weiner has alternately claimed that he was “hacked” or that the lewd photo was a “prank,” he has filed no official complaint to trigger a police investigation. That’s significant: Filing a complain one knows to be false puts the complainer in legal jeopardy. Rather than file a complaint to look into the alleged hacking of a sitting congressman, Weiner has lawyered up and hired private investigators to look into the “hacking.” Unlike the police or FBI, Weiner will control where the private detectives are allowed to search for evidence. They may or may not find anything interesting, but Weiner can control not only what they find but what they publicly release. This has all the appearances of a smoke screen, as someone as intelligent as Weiner surely knows. Yet he has chosen this course of action anyway.
The FBI has told Fox News that, should Weiner file a complaint with them, they could probably clear everything up “in five minutes.” For some reason, Weiner evidently doesn’t want them to do that. I’m not mind reading here — he hasn’t filed the complaint that would trigger their five minute investigation, ergo, he doesn’t want the FBI to clear it up. Everyone who is defending Weiner and coming up with grand scenarios and conspiracies should answer this basic question about Weiner’s decision not to file an official complaint: Why?
To me, the simplest explanation remains that Weiner accidentally sent the photo himself. He fears lying about whether that’s him in the photo or not because he is aware that there are other similar photos out there. Or, alternately, someone knows that that is him and there will be dire consequences if he publicly lies about it. He is lying about sending it out himself because he thinks he can get away with that much (he was alone when he sent it, probably explains that). This all may turn out to be wrong, but it is where all the evidence is pointing, and has pointed since this whole sorry saga began.