It's been 36 hours since a photo of an underwear-covered erect penis appeared on the official Twitter account of Rep. Anthony Weiner (D - N.Y.). The congressman says he was hacked, but right-wing bloggers, vowing to take the alleged Weiner erection as far as it goes, have uncovered what they say is evidence of an affair. Let's take a long, hard look at Weinergate.

As we wrote yesterday, the picture appeared in Weiner's timeline on late Friday night, directed at a Twitter account that allegedly belongs to Seattle-area journalism student Gennette Cordova. It was deleted (we didn't see it, though it's been archived on TweetCongress), but not before blogger "Publius" editors grabbed what they say is a screenshot of the yFrog page. Soon afterward, Weiner Tweeted that his Facebook had been "hacked."

Since then, Weiner has emailed Politico's Ben Smith, saying he thought it was "obvious" that he'd been hacked, and his spokesman told the New York Post that "Anthony's accounts on both Facebook and Twitter were hacked." The fact that Wiener and his office are calling it a hack would seem to put to rest this "image error level analysis" that's been circulating as "proof" that the initial screenshot was doctored, though, as Smith points out, "[t]he mechanics of the hack aren't entirely clear."

Indeed, we suppose it's within the realm of possibility that someone gained access to Weiner's Twitter account and sent a photo of an erection to a (randomly-chosen?) woman. (It's the same excuse, let's note, used by "Craigslist congressman" Chris Lee.) It's unclear whether Weiner has reported the alleged hacking to the authorities, though it's obviously his prerogative to not do so.

But conservative bloggers believe that Weiner intentionally Tweeted a picture of his erection to Cordova — and that the two of them were possibly having an affair. The evidence (most of which you can see here on a blog called Ironic Surrealism) for this theory is circumstantial, and not particuarly convincing — but neither is the "hack" story:

  • Before the picture was published, Weiner Tweeted about his appearance on Rachel Maddow's show and added "That's 5:45 in Seattle I Think." Cordova, the alleged recipient of the erection Tweet, lives in Seattle.
  • Cordova once referred to Weiner as her "boyfriend" on Twitter, and other Twitter users mentioned her "crush" on Weiner. (As we said yesterday, if this were evidence of an affair, Weiner is having a lot of affairs.)
  • Cordova has deleted her Facebook, Twitter and Formspring accounts. Our guess is that this is about being harassed by bloggers and jeering Twitter-users, but maybe she's trying to disappear to hide an affair?
  • He once DMed spoke with, in some unspecified way, a female high school student, who then Tweeted she was "talking with" Weiner. Later, the same girl Tweeted "Turnon: married men." This is supposed to be evidence that he likes young women? Or something? Except that we have no idea what "talking with" means. Stretching it, guys.

We've attempted to contact Cordova but haven't been successful so far. (Email me if you're reading this, Nicole!) What we really need is someone who's seen Anthony Weiner in his underwear before.

Update: If you're looking to make a case for Weiner, you could do worse than this DailyKos article, via commenter Dinty and featuring comments from our last post about Weinergate.