As Weinergate's lifespan nears the one-week mark, the betting pool over how a crotch shot addressed to a college student briefly appeared on Anthony Weiner's Twitter feed is thick with the sludge of conspiracy. Scandals like this--complete with Twitpic of the evidence, cryptic public statements, clueless college girls in Seattle--only come so often for the political press, and so every detail has been scrutinized to the hilt in an effort to solve the curious case of Anthony's underpants. Anthony Weiner told reporters outside his office this morning that he wouldn't answer any more questions about the affiar. Rudy Giuliani, whose former job as New York City mayor looked like it may be on Weiner's list of ambitions, wonders why there's not an FBI investigation yet. Whether the Bureau decides to pursue the case or not the internet cadres of Watson-wannabes has already done a decent amount of work for them.
We've done our best to pull together the facts collected so far and parsed out some of the loopy theories, from the most plausible to the most impossible, in an effort to separate the news from the gossip. But at this point what's the difference?
Theory #1: Anthony Weiner Was Sending a College Girl a Picture of His Crotch
Proponent: Publius, an anonymous blogger on Andrew Breitbart's Big Government
Supporting Evidence: This is the original version of this scandal. Publius posted a series of screenshots allegedly from Anthony Wiener's Twitter and Yfrog accounts. The tip-off tweet, shown not as a screenshot from Twitter's website but rather from a Twitter client, appeared as at @ reply to a then-unnamed user--it's since been revealed that the user is a 21-year-old college student in Seattle--and included a link to a photo of an underwear-clad erection on Anthony Weiner's Yfrog account. The screenshot of the photo on Weiner's Yfrog account is accompanied by a shot of a tweet from Weiner dated Saturday that says "Tivo shot. FB hacked. Is my blender gonna attack me next? #TheToasterIsVeryLoyal."
Counter Evidence: On the matter of sending crotch shots to college girls, Weiner has been the most forceful in his denials. At a press conference at the Capitol the one point-blank thing he said was: “We know for sure I didn’t send this photograph."
Theory #2: A Hacker Sent a Fake Weiner Pic to a College Girl as a Prank
Proponent: Anthony Weiner
Supporting Evidence: Not long after the crotch shot posted by Weiner's account went live, the congressman claimed that a hacker had burrowed into his account. The photo of course was deleted almost immediately, and the follow-up tweet sounded playfully defensive. It's not technically that difficult to break into anybody's Twitter or Facebook account. Weiner's camp also claims that a week ago he received an email alerting him that his Facebook account had been compromised. The Twitter invasion could have been the obvious next step for the prankster. By Monday, the congressman had hired an attorney in order to investigate how the hack happened and explore “what civil or criminal actions should be taken.” A spokesperson for Weiner echoed hope that it had been a prank and said, "We are loath to treat it as more, but we are relying on professional advice."
Counter Evidence: This sounds like an obvious deflection of blame--Slate's Christopher Beam wondered if "somebody hacked my account" was the new "the dog ate my homework." There's also Weiner himself who's curiously refused to say whether the photo in question is a picture of his crotch or someone else's, which leads to...
Theory #3: A Hacker Sent a Real Weiner Pic to a College Girl as a Better Prank
Proponent: Anthony Weiner (apparently)
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