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CNN "CNN Newsroom" - Transcript


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WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. I'm Wolf Blitzer. We're on Capitol Hill with Congressman Anthony Weiner of New York.

Congressman, thanks very much for joining us.

REP. ANTHONY WEINER (D), NEW YORK: Thank you, Wolf. It's my pleasure.

BLITZER: Did you send that picture to that college student in Washington state?

WEINER: I did not. She says she never got it and doesn't know me; I don't -- certainly don't know her.

This seems like it's a prank to make fun of my name. You know, when your named Weiner, that happens a lot. Got 45,000-some odd Twitter followers, hundreds of people that I follow. This seems like a prank that has gotten an enormous amount of attention.

BLITZER: This is the picture -- I'm sure you've seen it by now. Is this you?

WEINER: I can tell you this. We have a firm that we've hired -- I've seen it, it's -- I've seen it -- a firm that we've hired to get to the bottom of it.

I can tell you this, that photos can manipulated. Photos can be of one thing changed to look like something else. We're going to try to get the bottom of what happened. Maybe Jon Stewart last night had it right, unfortunately, but we're going to find out.

Look, this has turned into this kind of international whodunit. What it really is was, I think, a prank. I'm treating it like a prank and trying to get back to the work I'm trying to do. I understand you want to pursue the story, and we're going to try to help you the best we can.

BLITZER: Well, we just want to resolve it once and for all.

You would know if this is your underpants, for example.

WEINER: The question is -- I appreciate you continuing to flash that at me.

Look, I've said the best I can, that we're going to try to get to the bottom of what happened here. But you know, I just want to caution you -- and you understand this, you're a pro -- that photographs can be manipulated. Photographs can be taken up from one place and put in another place, photos they can be doctored. And I want to make sure that we know for sure what happened here.

It certainly doesn't look familiar to me, but I don't want to say with certitude to you something that I don't know to be the certain truth.

But I do know some certain truths here. I didn't send any Twitter picture. The person who allegedly it was sent to, this poor woman who is, frankly, a victim in all of this, didn't get it. She put out a statement saying as much. I don't know her, she doesn't know me.

It seems to me that this is what goes on in the Internet world, in the social media world of 2011 that sometimes this happens. Hundreds and thousands of times, just about every week, people have spam and hacking that goes on. It seems like I was a victim of that, and I don't consider that big of a federal offense, but people want to pay attention to it and I guess I get it. When you're named Weiner, it kind of goes with the territory.

BLITZER: Have you ever taken a picture of yourself like this?

WEINER: I can tell you this, that there are -- I have photographs. I don't know what photographs are out there in the world of me. I don't know what things have been manipulated and doctored, and we're going to try to find out what happened.

But the most important reason I want to find out what happened is to make sure it doesn't happen again. Obviously, somebody got access to my account; that's bad. They sent a picture that makes fun of the name Weiner. I get it. You know, touche, Dr. Moriarty, you got me.

At the time it happened, I tweeted right away that I got the joke and I continued on with my life. And I think that, frankly, that's what I would encourage everyone to do. I don't believe that this is a big federal issue, but people are free to pursue it if they like.

BLITZER: But you would like to get to the bottom of it. So the questions is, have you asked Capitol Hill Police or New York Police or FBI or law enforcement authority to investigate?

WEINER: Have I called -- have I called the cops or the FBI because someone sent spam? No. However, I did get a firm, a law firm who specializes in these things, who specializes in white-collar crime. I've got someone who is -- and they're going to get someone who is an Internet security expert to get to the bottom of how we secure my accounts.

Every day, Wolf, people have stuff like this happen. It's regrettable, but it's true, every day. Every day it doesn't become a federal case. Just because it happened to Congressman Weiner on his personal account doesn't mean the taxpayers should pay for some investigation of this that winds up going on and on for years and years to find out who -- wait for it -- who sent a picture of someone in shorts on the Internet on the account of a guy named Weiner. I just don't think it rises to that level. I don't think it's a federal case, but I'm going to turn it over to some people who are going to give me advice on what to do next.

BLITZER: Have -- but have your lawyers suggested to you that a crime may have been committed if somebody broke into your Twitter account --

WEINER: Perhaps.

BLITZER: -- and sent this out?

WEINER: That's one of the things -- it's a fair question.

BLITZER: Cause you're a United States congressman.

WEINER: I know, but I'm a citizen, too. And I'm a guy who is on Twitter jousting with people all the time. I follow you, by the way. Excellent Twitter feed.

I have to say that it doesn't necessarily mean that because it happened to Anthony Weiner means it should become a big federal investigation. I've watched federal investigations going on for years and chew up millions and millions of dollars. For what? Because someone sent a picture to someone who never got even it who says they don't even know me?

I mean, I understand people may be curious about this particular case, but at home people there are people who are watching this saying, you know what, I get spam all the time and I don't call the cops. Or, you know what, I mean, it's a terrible thing that happened, but I lost thousands of dollars in a hacking and I couldn't get a federal investigation. Why should Congressman Weiner get one just to find out who sent a randy picture from his -- from his Twitter feed?

BLITZER: Did you send direct messages or private messages to this woman in Washington state, Gennette Cardova?

WEINER: I'm going to -- I'm going to -- look, I'm not going to get into how I communicate with people on social media. I'm not going to open the door to like, did I send someone a note that said, thank you for following me, please tune in for the in the future. I don't want to open the door to you saying, well, what about this person, what did she say back, what did this person say.

All I can say this. There was nothing, as she said, inappropriate. There is standard communication that people have on social media. I tweet all the time. I've got thousand -- 45,000 followers, more than just about any member of Congress. It's a playful combative feed. I encourage people to sign up @RepWeiner, and this is what happens, sometimes people zing you back and that's what happened in this case.

BLITZER: Do you do all of your own personal tweeting or do your staff members do it for you?

WEINER: I do, with some limited exceptions that -- we have a firm that does mass mail for us that sometimes links to it, but it's me, it's got my voice. I was tweeting at the moment this happened --

BLITZER: I mean, does anybody else have your pass code?

WEINER: Well, that's one of the things, unfortunately, we're going to be looking into.

Not that I know of, but, you know, as I tweeted that night, I have had problems with getting access to my Facebook accounts and I've have had to change that account a few times. And perhaps.

We're going to find out what happened. I don't know. You know, I fear we're going to find out that perhaps our security here was not particularly good, and maybe it's going to turn out to be a worse situation than it looks right now.

Now it looks like a prank. We're treating it like a prank and we're desperately trying just to get back to business, and that's why we're sitting down with CNN today.

BLITZER: So here's what raised some suspicion. Back on May 27th, you tweeted this, you were about to be on "The Rachel Maddow Show" on MSNBC. You said, "Heading to 30 Rock to chat with Rachel at 9:00." And then you said, "That's 5:45 in Seattle, I think. "

The woman in question here is in Seattle.

WEINER: Right. I had tweeted previously -- I know, it's a terrible coincidence and that's all it is. And frankly, I didn't even know the girl was in Seattle from her feed.

Look, let me say this. In the past on my Twitter feed, I had done a similar joke about other cities.

BLITZER: Why Seattle?

WEINER: It was pure, pure coincidence. I have no idea.

You know, part of the Twitter ethos is they're playful, dopey things. I don't think it was 5:45 in Seattle.

It was a pure coincidence. And frankly, you know, it's questions like this are why I was a little bit testy yesterday. It's like at what point does the line get drawn where you say, you know this is just ridiculous now? You want to go back and look at my Twitter feeds, and you find some time that I reference Seattle to link it back to this -- you know, I tweet hundreds of times and I say all kinds of things. A lot of the things I said are very combative about Republicans. Very -- you know, I'm a very feisty --

BLITZER: I follow you on Twitter, so I know.

WEINER: Right, and you know how feisty I am. I mean, you know how I lean into it and how I take pokes at them all the time. And, you know, a much more reasonable line of questioning would be like, you know, maybe someone punked him back, you know, to get even for all of those times. That's what I thought at the time. And yet -- and I would just say, you know, this person or anyone else who follows me, what do they do wrong here? They've done nothing wrong. Why should they be getting reporters hounding them, why are you following Congressman Weiner?

Why should I have people showing me pictures of your followers -- do you -- you know, why do you follow this person? Well, this is Twitter. You follow people sometimes because they ask you to follow them. Why does that person deserve to have their face splashed in "The New York Post"?

It's just -- there's a level of this, Wolf, that it's gotten a little crazy. And maybe I contributed to it by maybe not being direct about it, maybe the statements I put out on Saturday and Sunday, maybe being -- having a gaggle of cameras follow my wife and me taking a wife taking a walk on Monday didn't do the trick. I came here yesterday convinced. I want to talk about the debt limit, I want to talk about health care reform.

BLITZER: Let's go through a couple things --


BLITZER: -- and then I'll let you move on --


BLITZER: -- to the debt limit, health reform and all of that.

WEINER: I appreciate it. Thank you.


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