UPDATED AT 4:30 PM ET WITH A REPORT FROM ANOTHER WEINER PRESS CONFERENCE. Weiner attempts a joke, saying he regrets being a little "stiff" with reporters yesterday.
From NBC's Luke Russert and Carrie Dann
Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) said Wednesday that he can’t say “with certitude” whether or not a lewd below-the-belt photo depicted his body, but he insisted that he did not tweet the picture to a 21-year old college student in Seattle, Wash.
In an interview with NBC’s Luke Russert, Weiner repeated his claim that his Twitter account was hacked and said that he has hired a private security firm to investigate the matter.
“I was the victim of a prank,” Weiner said.
Weiner sat down with NBC News a day after a testy exchange with reporters on Capitol Hill. He said Wednesday that he was “frustrated” with media coverage of the Twitter dustup but that questions about the issue are fair and reasonable.
But, he added, the controversy should be placed in context.
“This is not a national security matter. We are not making a federal case out of this and I don’t think anyone else should,” he said in explaining his decision not to pursue an independent investigation led by Capitol Police.
The New York congressman also repeated his assertion that he did not know the woman who received the photo over the weekend.
Asked why he follows less than 200 Twitter users – some who are young women unconnected to the political world – Weiner said that his selection of who to engage with on the site is “fairly random.”
He is often asked by Twitter users to “follow” him back on the network, he said, and he sometimes obliges.
“I’m not sure that there’s anything more here than just a little bit of silliness, and I'm going to try to brush it off my shoulder,” he said.
*** UPDATE *** NBC's Libby Leist reports... In a press gaggle with reporters, Weiner suggested that the lewd picture may have been "manipulated" and he has retained an internet security firm to investigate. He refused to answer repeated questions about whether photos exist of him in his underwear and whether one may have been "manipulated."
"There are photographs of me in the world. Yes," he said. "We dont know where the photograph came from. We dont know for sure whats on it, we dont know for sure if its been manipulated, if it was taken out of one place and dropped in something else. And i'm going to let this firm try to get to the bottom of all that."
He said he for sure did not SEND the photo.
On why there isn't a U.S. Capitol Police investigation, he said he's retained an Internet security firm that's going to give him advice on next steps. He doesn't believe it's a federal case.
"I believe this is a case of someone sending a nuisance Twitter making fun of my name. We all get spam."
He joked that comedian Jon Stewart may have been right, referring to the fact that Stewart joked it couldn't have been him due to its size.
Weiner tried to deflect questions with jokes. He said, in one attempt at humor, that he regrets being a little bit "stiff" yesterday with reporters.