House Investigations Subcommittee Chair Can't See How Weiner Stays in Congress

June 8, 2011 - 4:05 AM

weiner

A teary U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., admits to inappropriate conduct involving at least six women at a news conference on Monday, June 6, 2011. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

(CNSNews.com) – A Republican who called for congressional hearings into cyber security after Rep. Anthony Weiner falsely said his Twitter account had been hacked said he does not understand how the New York Democrat can continue serving in Congress.

“I fully expect an investigation by the Ethics Committee, that will determine if Rep. Weiner used official resources and if he broke any House rules,” Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) told CNSNews.com Tuesday. “He lied about his conduct, and his behavior does not reflect creditably on the House of Representatives, and I do not see how he can long continue to serve in Congress.”

Stearns chairs a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on oversight and investigations, and Weiner also is a member of that subcommittee. Before Weiner admitted to the inappropriate conduct involving at least six women, Stearns was one of the first members of Congress to call for any type of investigation related to the Weiner matter.

Stearns said he thought Weiner--as a purported hacking victim--would be “doubly interested” in a cyber security hearing.

“If it is true there was a hacking, it was a breach of House information,” Stearns said on Monday. “He could voluntarily tell everything that happened to the House Information and Resources Division.

“If there was a hacking, we’d just like to see how it happened,” Stearns said.

In late May, Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com Web site first reported that a lewd photo had been sent from Weiner’s Twitter account to a 21-year-old woman in Seattle. Weiner claimed someone had hacked into his account, but he did not file a police report, and he refused to clarify whether it was a photo of his crotch.

On Monday afternoon, Weiner confessed at a press conference, “The picture was of me. I sent it.” He also admitted to sending numerous other obscene images of himself to at least six women. But he said he would not resign from the House.

On Tuesday, CNSNews.com contacted Stearns again in light of Weiner’s confession.

Stearns said Weiner’s personal failings do not diminish the importance of security for federal computers.

“In January, Deputy Defense Secretary [William J.] Lynn pointed out that more than 100 foreign intelligence agencies have tried to breach our defense computer networks,” Stearns told CNSNews.com on Tuesday. “In addition, the systems of members of Congress have been breached, while the Federal Trade Commission estimates that identity theft costs American consumers $50 billion a year.

“These are serious cyber threats to our privacy and to our national security, and I think we should proceed with a hearing.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has called for an ethics investigation into Weiner’s conduct, a number of Republicans insist Weiner has to go, and Democrats are not defending him.