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MSNBC "Rachel Maddow Show" - Transcript


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Congressman, thanks very much for your time.

REP. ANTHONY WEINER (D), NEW YORK: I blame it all on you.

MADDOW: I"m sure it has something to do with those rodeo queens.

Will you tell me in your own words what has happened here?

WEINER: Well, I don"t know for sure. It seems like what happened someone somehow got access to my Twitter account and tweeted a joke, I guess. You know, when your name is Weiner, you get some of those sometimes. I happen to be quite literally because I was on your show, I was tweeting at that very moment I saw it pop up there. I took it down pretty quickly.

The woman who was I guess intended to get it, never received it, put out a statement saying she doesn"t know me. I certainly don"t know her. And I write off basically as a prank. I continued that night tweeting and talking to my followers about hockey and Clarence Thomas and other things, and woke up the next morning to kind of smell the embers burning of what would become this national question about who did what and when.

But I just want to say that I didn"t send the picture. I don"t know who did and what they were intending to do. But I consider it a prank and we"ve been trying to move past it ever since.

MADDOW: Does anybody else have access to either your Twitter account or your yfrog account, any different vectors by which this would have appeared on the Internet under your name?

WEINER: You know, I do all of my own tweeting and with some very narrow exceptions, sometimes, there"s--we do some mass mailings and a firm links to it. But the answer is I don"t know. I mean, it doesn"t seem likely.

But to be honest with you, one of the things we"ve been doing ever since this thing happened is taking a kind of a hard look. We hired a firm to take a look at our security and we"re not doing a great job at it.

A couple weeks earlier, I had problems with my Facebook account, changed the password to that, neglected to change the password on Twitter. I don"t really know what happened. One of the things we"re trying to do is get to the bottom of how secure this system is.

As far as the yfrog account, I"d be very honest with you, I didn"t really know for sure what that was until this thing popped up and I clicked on it and it directed me to where these photographs were being kept. And I kind of quickly deleted it and moved on with my life.

MADDOW: In terms of the Facebook problems that you had, were they this type of problem? Was it a problem where somebody was trying to put something on your Facebook page where it looked like it would be attributed to you and would be embarrassing but it wasn"t from you?

WEINER: I don"t want to drill too deeply into that because, you know, we have some professionals who are taking a look at it--but perhaps. I mean, I think that someone actually did get access. We reported a couple of weeks earlier, got a new password and everything else.

I don"t want to draw too many conclusions. I mean, I"ll be honest with you. You completely lost me with the technical stuff at the outset here. All I know is what I know, which is--this thing was sent by someone else. They were on my Twitter page. I since have read a few articles like you have that it"s not that hard to do.

I don"t believe this is this big national emergency that demands international investigations, but I think it was basically a prank. And until I know otherwise, I"m going to assume that"s the case.

MADDOW: And you have been very clearly trying to bring the whole conflagration to an end. In part by insisting that you wouldn"t take questions on it anymore that led to that very tense press conference yesterday. But because you haven"t answered a question about whether the photo is you or not, you realize that now, everybody thinks the photo is you.

And so, where"s there"s smoke, there"s fire. There must be a real scandal here. You must have been doing something creepy here.

Let me ask you whether or not you want to answer that question, and then let me ask you what the answer to it is.

WEINER: Whether the photograph is me?


WEINNER: Am I allowed to say I wish? I don"t--look, we don"t know for sure. The photo doesn"t look familiar to me. But a lot of people who have been looking at this stuff on our behalf are cautioning me that, you know, stuff gets manipulated, stuff gets--you know, you can change your photograph, you can manipulate a photograph, you can doctor a photograph.

And so, I don"t want to say with certitude it maybe didn"t start out being a photograph of mine, and now, it looks something different or maybe it was something that was from another account that got sent to me. I don"t--I can"t say for sure. I don"t want to say with certitude. I"m not trying to be evasive. I just don"t know.

MADDOW: Is it possible that this started out as a private photo of yours that ended up in the public domain accidentally or at least in a way that you didn"t intend?

WEINER: Well, it could be or it could have been a (AUDIO BREAK) that was that"s taken out of context or manipulated or changed in some way. So, maybe it did or maybe it"s a photograph that was dropped into an account from somewhere else. I mean, I can"t say. I don"t want to cast this net wider by saying it"s someone else.

So, I"m going to say that I can"t say with certitude it"s me or it"s not.

Jon Stewart last night assured his public that it wasn"t me for reasons that are somewhat embarrassing. But I"ll leave it to your viewers to make that determination.

MADDOW: In terms of your constituents watching all of this unfold,
and wondering if there is fire here behind all of the smoke, wondering if
you"re doing creepy things online, specially, what--how do you intend to
re-assure your constituents and to the people who have supported you
politically that they shouldn"t think that you"re a creep?

WEINER: Well, you know, the simple fact here is what this appears to be is probably what it is--someone making fun of my name, someone trying to cause trouble for me, maybe poke fun at me. You know, when your name is Weiner and someone posts a picture like that, the most obvious conclusion is that someone was pranking me and punking me. And I get that.

I kind of am concerned about how far and wide this conspiracy theory has run. I mean, I"ve got people who did nothing more than just follow me on Twitter who are getting calls from reporters. We have people that I followed who they asked me to follow them who are now showing up in paper, in articles in the newspaper.

Look, people get hacked all the time. Hundreds of thousands of time each year, someone that has their account compromised or someone else takes their name or something like that. It happened to me. I don"t think it"s the end of the world. If people want to draw this conclusion, it"s a much more successful hack than I think even I knew who did it could have imagine because it"s gotten all of this oxygen.

This is what life is like perhaps in social media in the world of 2011. And I"ll do the very best I can to persuade my constituents, both I"m going to keep doing my job and to be honest with you, I"m going to return to Twitter. I"m going to keep doing the things I"m doing because I think it helps me do my job.

MADDOW: In terms of that firm that you hired to help get to the bottom of this, will you make public anything that they find in terms of what they determine about--not necessarily any security lapses that you committed, but how this ultimately happened, so people think this isn"t you covering up something that you did?

WEINER: Yes. I mean, it"s a fair request. I mean, their primary job is going to be to try to figure out and deconstruct what happened from our perspective in terms of, you know, whether there"s a big security breach. They"re also going to be looking into maybe something much worse went on here that we"re still learning about.

But I think it"s perfectly reasonable to say, you know, if they find -

I mean, I"ve asked them in consultation with them if there are any other authorities we should bring in. They"re going to look into that as well. And I think it"s fair for people to ask.

Obviously, anything about my accounts and security we"re not going to make public. But things that kind of help unravel this very important mystery, I"m certainly eager to do.

MADDOW: Congressman Anthony Weiner, always a very valued guest on this show. Look forward to having you back, sir. Thanks very much for joining us.


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