Weinergate: What we know (Update: Weiner hires a lawyer)
On Friday night, New York Democrat Rep. Anthony Weiner's twitter feed sent 21-year-old college student Gennette Nicole Cordova, a Seattle resident, a tweet containing a link to a lewd photo of a man in his briefs. Weiner followed Cordova on twitter, and Cordova followed Weiner on twitter. At the time of the lewd tweet, Weiner had about 45,000 twitter followers but he followed just 91 people, and Cordova was among them. This two-way following relationship allows twitter users to send messages directly to one another without such messages going on either user's public twitter feeds. Weiner deleted the tweet with the link to the photo four minutes after it went out on his public twitter feeds, and claimed he was hacked, blaming the lewd photo on the hacker. The link that appeared in Weiner's public twitter feed led to the photo on Weiner's yfrog account. The photo has also been removed.
Here is a rough Weinergate timeline. If you see errors or items that need clarification, hit me up in comments or email and I'll correct or clarifiy anything that needs it.
1. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) was very active on twitter on Friday, awaiting a financial disclosure from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, a disclosure that Weiner intended to turn into a political attack on Thomas.
2. Weiner's twitter feed goes silent for about 3 hours, 24 minutes Friday afternoon/evening, a time during which he is allegedly watching a hockey game. (Weiner's spokesman later claimed that he had been tweeting about the hockey game during that time, a claim that has turned out to be false.)
3. Before Weiner's public twitter feed went silent, he sent out the following tweet:
Heading to 30 Rock to chat with Rachel at 9. #Thats545InSeattleIThink
about 17 hours ago via TweetDeck
Some MSM accounts of the scandal, including the NYT, have omitted this tweet. It's relevant because the recipient of the lewd photo lives in Seattle Bellingham, WA (same time zone as Seattle, and Seattle is where Cordova identified herself as being from in her original twitter feed). Weiner is a New York Democrat. Why did he tweet out a time hack to Seattle about a television appearance of his? For whom was this tweet intended?
TweetDeck may also be a useful clue, in that TweetDeck allows users to monitor multiple twitter streams, including their own and any mentions of themselves, public messages and private messages, at the same time. According to the tweet above, Weiner was using TweetDeck on Friday; he could have been managing his public tweets and mentions of himself in two columns while managing any number of private message conversations in other columns. He could also have quickly seen any tweets that he intended to send as private messages appear in his public stream, and any mentions of those tweets by others as well.