Getting to the bottom of Weinergate

The New York congressman finds himself at the center of a Twitter controversy involving a lewd photo.


    Poor Congressman Anthony Weiner. As if it weren't tough enough making a living out of bashing Arabs and Palestinians to satisfy New York's pro-Israel voters.

    Now the self-deprecating references have taken a difficult, bizarre turn for the New York representative, after a lewd photo of a man clad only in underwear was sent from his Twitter account to a college student.

    Weiner refuses to acknowledge in any of the interviews that the photo is definitively not a picture of him. Weiner further alleges he was hacked and wants an investigation. Yet days into the fray and--here comes the real surprise - no FBI investigation has been initiated.

    Congressman Weiner knows better. Were federal agents to investigate at his initiation and determine Weiner's own involvement (i.e., that this was not a case of hacking), then the Congressman would be committing a felony for a making false statements, intentionally misleading federal agents, not to mention be wasting everyones time and tax payer dollars.

    And that's presuming Weiner did send the photo and was not auditioning for a post-Congress career as an underwear model.

    If he did not send the photo, an investigation would be the most logical course of action, given he is a serving US Congressman and those breaches are rarely taken lightly. Twitter would receive a subpoena. The alleged hacker's IP address could be learned. A warrant would be issued for the computer. An arrest warrant might follow. That would pretty much be the the end of story.

    But as summer temperatures in Washington rise, so too does the interest in the media. For the time being, it is no doubt a huge distraction in the marriage of Congressman Weiner, wed less than one year ago to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's close confidant and Chief of Staff, Huma Abedin. She could presumably get lots of advice from her boss on how to handle a scandal involving a politician/husband.

    The Clintons attended their wedding last July - an unlikely couple wished well by many prominent Americans, as Weiner is from a Jewish family and Abedin is a Muslim-American raised in Saudi Arabia. Those who thought their nuptials might moderate Weiner's views towards Arabs and Muslims were bound to be disappointed.

    Weiner is, after all, a protege of Senator Chuck Schumer, who is hard to be outdone in supporting Israel's Likud party. Last month, in a debate sponsored by The Nation, Weiner claimed there was no Israeli occupation in the West Bank (even Ariel Sharon manned up to that one).

    Such slogans are part of a predictable pattern. In 2006 Weiner called the PLO a "terrorist organization", introduced legislation to have them barred from attending UN meetings in New York, and memorably suggested they should "start packing their little Palestinian terrorist bags."

    He was also behind a 2004 smear campaign to pressure Columbia University to sack a distinguished Middle East Studies professor, Joseph Massad, whose analysis we frequently benefit from. So much for liberal democratic values, Congressman Weiner.

    Little surprise the Republican right is eating up the scandal, as they never miss a chance to preach morals while hating on their political foes for behavior and illicit activity that they themselves do with regularity and get caught for with the same frequency. For its part, the mainstream media just craves political food fights.

    Anything to get those ratings.

    In the end, it will be a remarkable irony if Weiner falls on his own and is forced from office over something as petty as a Twitter photo. It is too early to tell how this will affect his planned bid in 2013 for Mayor of New York City. He already has nearly $5 million in the bank.

    It is more likely that his mayoral ambition will be thwarted than the six-term representative loses his seat.

    Either way, Weiner's hostile policies toward the Mideast have a far greater bearing on the lives and security of Americans.



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