I might as well make this clear at the outset. If I’ve learned anything over the last two days about lefty commenters who visit The House it is that their attention span and reading comprehension skills leave much to be desired. Therefore, I will write about the issues that we can all agree on right up front so that I don’t get idiots accusing me of supporting Foley or abetting a cover up by the GOP House leadership simply because they don’t take the time or make the minimal effort to actually read what I write.
This is what we know and what we can extrapolate from the facts:
- Foley is a pervert. And I cannot believe that these raunchy IM’s published so far is the limit of his perversion. Not only am I sure that there are more victims out there but that I think it possible that he has had physical contact with pages of an inappropriate nature. I base this on the fact that he showed an inordinate amount of interest in the pages throughout his career which would give him the opportunity and that the IM’s demonstrate the desire for such contact. I understand that the age of consent in Washington D.C. is 16 so it is probable that no laws were broken. But that doesn’t mitigate against the horrific violation of trust if such acts occurred.
- The House GOP leadership – indeed probably many on both sides of the aisle – knew of Foley’s predilections and did nothing about it. Are you trying to tell me that if Republican House pages were warned about Foley 5 years ago that at least some Democratic Pages weren’t also aware? That’s laughable. I’m sure the FBI will have some interesting conversations with former pages that will reveal not only that the Democratic pages had heard the rumors about Foley also but that they had dutifully passed them on to Democratic staffers.
- Foley’s sick behavior through the years was suspected, never proven. For that reason, when the email exchange with the ex-Page took place last year, the House leadership dropped the ball by not carrying out some kind of an investigation. Would that have revealed the existence of the IM’s and perhaps other things? Maybe not. But any such investigation would have ruined his career and left the leadership wide open to attacks by the left that they were persecuting a gay man. In effect, it was a damned if you do damned if you don’t situation which makes the smug charges by Democrats today – some of whom may have known about Foley as well – ring a little hollow. Nevertheless, to out a potential sexual predator in their midst should have overrode any other concerns.
- There will be a torrent of revelations over the coming weeks as the FBI investigation reveals all the seamy details as well as the extent of knowledge by both Democrats and Republicans about Foley’s perversion. Look also for an investigation in just how those emails and IM’s came into the possession of the mainstream media.
And it is on that front that I will address the remainder of this post. Because like it or not, this has become a political story. And certainly a large part of the politics of it is the growing realization that this story has been an electoral black bag operation, that it may have been planned for months, and that it was timed to explode for maximum political effect.
THE STRANGE GOINGS ON AT STOPSEXPREDATORS
Yesterday, I gave a detailed analysis of the blog that started the whole affair by publishing the emails of a former page from Congressman Foley last Sunday.
Since then several amazing things have come to light. First, and least importantly, the formatting of the email from Foley to the former page sent last year is different on the SSP website than those displayed on the CREW website.
The Foley messages themselves occupy the next 5 pages, which is where it gets interesting. It looks like the first message (which would logically be e-mail 1), in which Foley verifies the email address, is the only one which has actually been forwarded in its entirety. The remaining messages appear to have been pasted into separate emails of their own (hence the subject lines listing e-mail 2, etc), and not forwarded. I.E. they contain the putative text alone, without any headers attached.(See the whole comment for links to the emails found on the SSP site and a pdf filed of the CREW version of the emails)
It appears that the STOP blog took the header from the first message (p. 4), cropped out the redundant [Maf54@aol.com] in the “From” line, and eliminated the “To” line altogether—and then spliced it onto each of the other individual texts.
In other words, there’s no way of knowing whether the incriminating text provided to the recipient in the CREW pdf represents actual emails at all. It could have come from anywhere. It’s also possible that the young man didn’t want to pass on the emails in their entirety, opting instead to extract and paste in relevant material alone. One might wonder who was determining what might or might not be relevant—as well as wondering precisely who the redeacted recipient of this collection on Aug. 31, 2005 might have been.
In any case, the only email which includes the Foley header is completely innocuous, and if you click on the individual emails at STOP, you’ll notice that, oddly enough, the jpeg titles include “cropped.”
What makes this little more than an historical curiosity is the fact that reporters for several news organizations – including the St. Petersburg Times – confirmed the authenticity of the emails with the former page himself thus making any effort to cast aspersions on this or that version of them moot.
The authenticity of the IM’s may be a different story. But the emails that were reported to the House leadership last year have been authenticated so that any attempt to debunk them is doomed to failure.
But that’s not the only thing about the SSP website that is curious. The entire website has vanished as of today. All 8 posts (as Tom McGuire sardonically remarked of the site “which started in July and brought down the Congressional leadership with its sixth, seventh and eighth posts.”) are gone along with the emails and all the archives. The domain name “stopsexpredators.blogspot.com” seems to have been taken over either by a strawman or someone who is genuinely concerned about stopping sexual predators.
Of one thing we can be absolutely certain; Stop Sexual Predators had nothing whatsoever to do with the issue of fighting child pedophiles and everything to do with publicizing the emails from Congressman Foley to the former page. There can be no other explanation for its disappearance. Why would it close up shop just when it had scored a great coup that advanced its reason for being?
This means, of course, that at least as far as the publicizing of the emails, this was a clandestine Democratic/leftist effort to at the very least, raise questions about Foley’s behavior. And given what happened less than 24 hours after the emails were brought to the attention of Brian Ross at ABC News – the revelatory and raunchy IM’s being given to ABC news – a genuine dot connecting exercise can be undertaken to link both events. While not a certainty, it is compelling evidence that whoever published the emails on the SSP blog was either aware of the incriminating IM’s or had both in their possession.
NOTE: The link above is to the site “Stop Sexual Predators” not Stop Sex Predators. I apologize for the mixup. Someone sent me an incorrect link.
Obviously, that weakens the case that SSP was definitely set up to dump the emails onto the blogosphere. However, I find it strange that the person in charge of the website has not posted anything else since aknowledging his coup with the emails. Mission accomplished, perhaps?
THE KOS CONNECTION
Almost a month ago, a “two comment wonder” at Daily Kos known as WHInternnow revealed that it was an “open secret” that Foley liked the young interns and pages on the Hill and at the White House. Blog PI picks up the story:
They are probably also the same person: On Sept. 24, WHInternNow posted a dKos diary about the SSP posts almost as soon as the scans went up, but claimed to have innocently stumbled upon them via Google. Yeah, right.
And earlier this last week, before ABCâ€™s Brian Ross obtained the more-damning Foley IMs and took the story national, Wonketteâ€™s Alex Pareene took notice of SSPâ€™s e-mails, and was uncharacteristically constrained in deeming the e-mails false…
One immediately wonders where Wonkette would have gotten a hold of the emails (or at least directed to the incredibly obscure SSP website). Even though they believed them to be fakes, given the enormous readership of the blog, it is likely that this is what triggered MSM interest in the story.
THE STRANGE GENESIS OF THE RAUNCHY IM’S
Questions about the IM’s authenticity are already arising as a result of the altering of the emails. However, the WaPo story seems to indicate that it was common knowledge among pages that Foley sent raunchy IM’s:
Also yesterday, a former House page said that at a 2003 page reunion, he saw sexually suggestive e-mails Foley had sent to another former page. Patrick McDonald, 21, now a senior at Ohio State University, said he eventually learned of “three or four” pages from his 2001-2002 class who were sent such messages.
At the very least, this would seem to indicate that even if the IM’s are fakes, others will testify that they received such raunchy IM’s from Foley. This is probably why he resigned from office.
But how do you “save” an IM? I’m sure there’s a way to do it but it can’t be easy. A better question would be why hang on to the IM’s for 4 or 5 years? My guess would be that such personal messages from a person of such power could have come in handy if questions ever arose about a relationship with Foley. Not blackmail but protection.
If the IM’s were in the possession of the left wing Public Interest Group CREW who then handed them over to ABC News, a legitimate question can be raised about how long they had those IM’s and why they didn’t notify the FBI sooner. If they had them for months (and since the SSP website went up in July we can assume as much) then CREW should be severely criticized for holding back information that placed young lives at risk. In the end – if they did indeed hold on to the IM’s for months – CREW can be singled out for the harshest criticism for the preferment of political gain at the expense of the safety of the pages.
How much of a story will this black bag operation be? Since it was done partly in the cause of ridding the Congress of a pervert, one perhaps cannot condemn it completely. However, it does demonstrate a nauseating cynicism on the part of the left when it comes to electoral politics and makes the hypocritical charges of “cover-up” resonate all the more with those who are disgusted by such tactics.