JANUARY 23, 2007
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, repeatedly under fire for negligence, is again in trouble for refusing to investigate Republican Florida Congressman Mark Foley’s inappropriate sexual escapades with teenage House pages over the years.
The FBI should have acted to protect the young male pages that the disgraced former Congressmen hit on, but instead declined to get involved when it initially learned about the disturbing electronic mails last summer. High-ranking bureau directors also lied to the media about the agency’s hands-off approach to a serious case that clearly was its duty to investigate.
Details of this latest mishap by the troubled federal agency are available in a 31-page report released this week by the Department of Justice Inspector General. Included is some of the graphic and downright repulsive electronic mail that the veteran lawmaker sent to the young male interns he pursued.
The FBI eventually launched an investigation after Foley resigned at the end of September 2006, but refused to get involved a month earlier when it first learned about the possible sexual abuse of minors by a federal official. In fact, various supervisory special agents who read the electronic mails in July specifically decided they did not merit investigating.
The Inspector General criticizes the bureau’s inaction, saying that “we believe the FBI should have considered taking some steps to ensure that any minors in the Congressional page program were not at risk of predatory behavior by Foley.”
This could have easily been done by interviewing former pages and notifying Congressional officials overseeing the program about the explicit electronic mail exchange. One teenager said Foley’s mail to him was “sick” and that it “freaked” him out.
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