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You might think this year's most shocking cybersex story would be the allegations that Anthony Weiner sent sexually suggestive messages to a teenager. The following investigation involved a search through Weiner's computer, which he shared with his (now-estranged) wife Huma Abedin, one of Hillary Clinton's closest advisors. That search led FBI Director James Comey to make the unprecedented announcement that the government was looking again into Hillary's missing emails, and then to take it all back just a few days later. Weiner's insatiable taste for cybersex could have tipped the election to Trump. In terms of cybersex scandals, that's pretty major.
But if you thought Weiner was number one, you'd be wrong. According to Ars Technica at least, the biggest cybersex scandal of 2016 involves international scammers, a government laptop, a masturbating state senator, and local politics in Nebraska.
In an Election Day article for Ars Technica, Nate Anderson recounts the saga of Bill Kintner and the "Skype sex scam" that "caught one Nebraska politician and changed state policy." We'll add that it also resulted in an outpouring of deliciously lewd poetry.
Kintner, a Republican state senator in Nebraska, was traveling to Boston for a conference this summer when he was contacted by a woman on Facebook. "Make me pleasure" she instructed. He resisted at first -- "I don't want to sneak behind my wife's back ... It's not about you, it is about me. You are smoking hot." -- but later relented, turning on Skype, unzipping, and going to town. On his government-issued laptop.
Surprise! It was all recorded, or at least the woman claimed. As though this were an episode of Black Mirror, Kintner was met with almost-immediate threats of humiliation. If he didn't wire $4,500 to the Ivory Coast, his lady friend would put the video online and share it with all his Facebook contacts.
Kintner went to the Nebraska State Patrol instead. Their investigation determined that Kintner's blackmailer was part of a crime syndicate operating from the Ivory Coast, over Russian computers.
That investigation also made Kintner's indiscretions public. He was fined $1,000 for misuse of government property and faced an immediate backlash. From Anderson:
Many legislators -- along with the governor -- called for him to resign, but Kintner refused, saying he had already apologized to his wife and to God. The best way for him to continue serving God, he added, was to stay in office. (A fellow state legislator quipped, "Whatever phone number he's using to talk to God, I want it.")
Enter Ernie Chambers, a legendary state senator and the only black legislator in Nebraska. Chambers hit Kintner with a bit of extortion of his own. If Kintner did not leave government by January 2017, he said, "I plan to use him and his illegal, scandalous, vulgar behavior as source material for rhymes throughout the 90-day Session. Be prepared for the pun, the double entendre, and other verbal techniques to 'keep the issue alive.'"
Chambers didn't wait till January to get started though. Here is one ribald couplet:
Kintner's free to masturbate on his own time,
But not free to masturbate on Taxpayers' dime.
There are longer works as well, including "The Sordid Saga of Bill Kintner's Guttersnipery," which begins:
Who is Bill Kintner?" asked the Town Crier.
A masturbating, would-be thief, and a liar-
A hypocrite-doing not what he ought,
Who never "comes clean" till after he's caught.
It was the "second in a long series of rhymes 'inspired' or provoked" by Kintner's scandal, Chambers promised.
Besides the embarrassment to Kintner and the poetry it inspired, Kintner's cybersex scandal had a few more consequences -- one of which was definitely not an increase in civility in state politics. Ars Technica's Anderson writes:
One positive has emerged from the whole mess, though -- more awareness of "personal use" rules for state-owned technology. Lawmakers will have new HP computers when they return to work in 2017, and last week, the legislature passed a new set of policies to go with the machines.
That hopefully means fewer sexual indiscretions on government laptops. It may not be a Weiner-level scandal, but it's a decent one nonetheless, and perhaps a bit more entertaining.
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