Press Release

For Immediate Release
January 22, 2007

Washington D.C.
FBI National Press Office
(202) 324-3691

FBI Response to OIG Review of FBI Initial
Response to Rep. Mark Foley E-Mails to a Former Page

Washington, D.C. - The FBI appreciates the work of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) in reviewing the FBI's initial response to Rep. Mark Foley's e-mails to a former page.

The OIG concluded that the FBI acted within the range of its discretion in deciding not to open a criminal investigation in July 2006 after receiving e-mails between Foley and a former page from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). As detailed in the report, the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia later reviewed these same e-mails and agreed that no further investigation was warranted.

The OIG determined that the e-mails were reviewed by three separate investigative squads and that FBI agents acted quickly and appropriately in assessing the information and providing it to the Cyber Crimes Squad where the decision was made not to pursue a criminal investigation. The OIG found that this decision was not influenced in any way by the fact that Foley was then a member of Congress. Although the OIG concluded that the FBI acted within its discretion, the review suggests certain follow-up steps that could have been undertaken with regard to the e-mails. The OIG acknowledges that its assessment was conducted after the fact and after explicit instant messages surfaced - none of which were part of the FBI's initial evaluation.

The OIG also reviewed the accuracy of Department of Justice and FBI statements made to the media in October 2006 regarding the e-mails received from CREW. The OIG concluded that inaccurate information about the emails provided by CREW was disseminated within the FBI and the Department of Justice. This information resulted in misunderstandings on the part of FBI and DOJ spokespersons and may have contributed to inaccurate information provided to the news media.

The FBI shares the OIG's interest in ensuring that information regarding potential criminal activity is evaluated objectively and in conformance with established policies and practices. Accordingly, the FBI will carefully examine the OIG review for any changes to existing policies or procedures that may be warranted.

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