WASHINGTON - January 22 - Earlier today, the Department of Justice Inspector General (IG) released its report regarding the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) response to former Rep. Mark Foley’s (R-FL) emails to a former House page.
In July 2006, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) sent the emails to the FBI for investigation. In October, after the FBI revealed that it had not conducted any investigation into the emails, CREW requested an IG inquiry into the FBI’s inaction. Days later, CREW sent a second letter to the IG asking for a review of FBI misstatements regarding CREW’s conduct in the matter.
In its report, the IG concludes that the FBI should have taken some action when CREW sent the Foley emails to the Bureau in July and it should have “notified CREW, the complainant in this case, that the FBI declined to open an investigation.” The IG based this assessment, in part, on the fact that the language in Rep. Foley’s emails “fell within the type of behavior that the FBI warns against in its Parent’s Guide to Internet Safety.”
Regarding the misstatements to the media regarding the information CREW provided to the FBI, the IG found that “statements attributed to the FBI and the Department about CREW and the Foley e-mails were not accurate.” First, the IG found that contrary to the FBI’s claims, the emails CREW forwarded were not redacted by CREW and that the “emails still contained the full names of the pages and the House employee to whom the emails were sent.” Further, the IG found that despite statements to the contrary, the FBI “did not seek additional information from CREW,” other than one follow-up phone call. Finally, the IG found that the emails were provided to CREW in July 2006, not April as an unnamed FBI source had claimed.
The report concludes that “the information provided by the FBI and the Department inaccurately portrayed the information that CREW provided to the FBI, and inaccurately suggested that CREW’s actions were the cause of the FBI’s decision not to investigate the emails.”
In response to the report, CREW’s executive director Melanie Sloan said, “By forwarding the emails to the FBI for investigation, CREW stands out as the only party in this sordid affair to have done the right thing from the first instance.” Sloan continued, “In marked contrast, not only did the FBI fail to investigate the possible sexual abuse of minors by a sitting member of Congress, the Bureau then tried to cover up its shocking inaction by blaming CREW. The IG’s report vindicates CREW completely.”
Finally, Sloan stated that she hoped the FBI would learn from this incident and, in the future, be quicker to investigate potential crimes against children.