If some perv wearing an Anthony Weiner mask presented a lewd bulge to a woman on the subway, you can bet Weiner would be calling for an immediate arrest.
So why isn't he calling for the arrest of whoever did the equivalent in cyberspace?
Not for his sake.
For the sake of the young woman who received the pervy photo Weiner claims was sent by somebody who masqueraded as him by hacking his Twitter account.
Even if she is able just to shrug it off, what about other women who might not be?
What's to prevent the perv in the Weiner mask from cyberflashing them?
One difference between a cyberperv and a subway perv is that a cyberperv can be easily identified long afterward.
The person who has been hacked needs only file a complaint and give the okay for the authorities to scrutinize accounts.
Investigators can then determine the computer's unique IP address. That includes the one that actually sent the pic.
Presto! The perv unmasked!
What's stopping Weiner, anyway?
Wednesday, the politician again dismissed the incident as a trifle, barely worth attention.
"I was the victim of a prank here," he told a TV interviewer.
He seemed barely bothered that somebody posing as him sent a pervy photo to a woman young enough to be his daughter.
"A moderately funny way that somebody hacked me," he said.
For a second day, he declared that he would not let a prank distract him from the larger issues facing Congress. It would have taken Weiner no more time to call the U.S. Capitol Police or the FBI than it did to call a lawyer and a private Internet security firm.
He says he called the private investigators to "make sure it doesn't happen again." If that's what he wants, why not call in the people with badges and handcuffs? He would have even saved a few bucks.
Weiner has suggested that the hacker was a political foe seeking "to undermine me." That could be cleared up right away by tracing the hacker's IP address.
Last year, the FBI traced an IP address to a 23-year-old Frenchman who had hacked the Twitter accounts of President Obama, Ashton Kutcher and Britney Spears. Capitol Police are seeking the hacker who broke into Sen. Patrick Leahy's email and sent out an announcement he had died.
"If they're able to hack into my system, they're able to hack into anybody else's," Leahy said.
Of course, if Weiner did go to the FBI or the Capitol Police, he would be taking a chance if he told anything but the full truth. Lying to the feds is a crime, as Martha Stewart could attest.
A federal agent might very well believe Weiner did not send the lewd photo, as he told the TV interviewer yesterday. Weiner was less convincing when the interviewer asked him to declare the picture was not of him.
"I can't say with certitude," he actually said.
Huh? How can a guy be so sure about big, complicated, issues such as national debt if he can't be certain whether that's a photo of his crotch?
Maybe Weiner figures he can't lie to the feds but he can lie to the press and everyone else.
Or maybe somebody really did hack the Twitter account.
Maybe they also lifted a pic from Weiner's computer.
Maybe the owner of that bulge is not just a liar, he's also embarrassed.