EDITORIAL: Police should probe Jansen's 'hack'
When a lewd photo of a boxer brief-clad man’s bulging nether region was tweeted from then-Rep. Anthony Weiner’s Twitter account in 2011, the New York Democrat at first tried to laugh it off.
“More Weiner Jokes for all my guests! #Hacked!” he posted the next day.
Weiner, then considered an up-and-comer in Congress, apparently hoped that would be the end of it. Still sticking to his hacking explanation, he told CNN the next day, “It happens to people. You move on.”
Not so much, in his case.
The public still had plenty of questions, and most led back to the biggest of all: If Weiner was hacked, why didn’t he report it to law enforcement?
Cyberattacks are serious crimes — even more so, we would argue, when they involve an elected official — and punishments can be severe.
However, Weiner declined to call in law enforcement, instead hiring an attorney “to explore the proper next steps and to advise us on what civil or criminal actions should be taken.”
The proper step was obvious to most, including right-wing bloggers such as the late Andrew Breitbart (who would famously hijack a Weiner news conference).
Breitbart, who was being implicated in the “hack,” appeared on CNN to call for a “full-scale investigation” involving the FBI or Capitol Police.
We all know now why Weiner didn’t file a report: He was lying.
And while lying to the public, including one’s constituents, is reprehensible, it’s not a crime.
Lying to law enforcement by filing a false police report, on the other hand, could have landed the congressman in jail.
The bottom line is that Weiner’s constituents deserved to know if their representative was a needy, self-destructive, sex-obsessed Twitter fiend or if he indeed had been hacked.
Just as the students, parents, teachers and taxpayers of the Spring Grove Area School District deserve to know if one of their school board members is a racist or if he’s the victim of a cybercrime as he claims.
But like Weiner, Matt Jansen hasn’t made a police report about the crime he’s alleging.
Last week, Jansen’s Twitter account tweeted, "Well than this wetbacks family should be thrown out of the country," in response to an article from the Breitbart “news” website of all places.
Jansen later denied tweeting the racial slur and said his account was hacked.
The offensive tweet was posted Feb. 6 and was seen by Amy Gunzelman, a 16-year-old junior at Spring Grove Area High School. She took a screenshot of the post and tweeted to Jansen, asking why he would post such a thing.
He acknowledges responding with this tweet: "It's a term from the 1950's used in the Eisenhower Administration, Operation Wetback. But inappropriate now. My apologies!"
About 10 minutes later, according to Amy, Jansen deleted both tweets and posted that he had been hacked.
The second tweet in question is particularly interesting. If he didn’t send the first tweet, why try to explain it all? Why apologize? All he had to do was say he was hacked.
Jansen told The York Dispatch he would never say the word used in the first tweet.
“It’s just so foreign from the way I talk,” he said.
Maybe not too much.
Last summer, Jansen left an offensive voicemail for the pastor of St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Dallastown about a church sign that wished “a blessed Ramadan to our Muslim neighbors."
In Jansen’s rant he said he was "shocked" by the "despicable," "unbelievable" sign and that Islam is a "godless," "pagan" religion.
"Are you sick? Is there something wrong with you?" the man asked the Rev. Christopher Rodkey after promising to share a photo of the sign on Facebook and Twitter "so everybody can see this, what you've done."
Rodkey — who has joined Amy on calling for Jansen to resign from the school board — said he’s suspicious of Jansen’s hacking claim.
"My position is, this is more of the same," he said.
Jansen said he understands why some people might be skeptical.
“I do say some stuff that’s confrontational, but that’s kind of me," he said.
Although he reported the hack to Twitter, he said he didn’t file a police report, that it never occurred to him.
If Jansen was truly hacked, there is no downside to reporting it. Maybe the culprit would even be apprehended and prosecuted.
If he were to file a false police report, however, he would be facing at least a misdemeanor.
If for some reason he can’t request a police investigation, Jansen should immediately resign from the Spring Grove Area school board.