By THOMAS HARGROVE and AMIE PARNES
FBI agents plan to "authenticate" the widely distributed sexually explicit Internet transcripts between former Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., and one-time House pages and will be interviewing the teenagers, a Department of Justice official said Tuesday.
Justice officials said they are also considering whether federal or Florida laws apply in the case, the source said.
On Monday, federal officials said they were conducting a preliminary legal assessment into the matter. But authorities were much more certain that a significant investigation will be made following the disclosure of yet more sexually explicit transcripts Tuesday.
"We don’t know quite what we are dealing with here," the official said. "We don’t know if those are the only e-mails. If there are other e-mails, are those e-mails authentic? We are trying to get all the facts and be clear what we are dealing with."
Foley, who served in the House for 12 years, resigned Friday after reports surfaced that he had exchanged sexually charged online messages with a congressional page still in high school.
The Justice source, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation, said officials will first try to determine if the online messages are in fact real.
"The first thing they are trying to do _ there is a lot of information in the public domain _ is they have to determine the validity and authenticity of this."
The probe comes as new reports surfaced claiming that Foley had Internet sex with a high-school student in between House votes in April 2003.
According to ABCnews.com, Foley exchanged instant messages with the teenage male as the House prepared to vote on the Emergency War Time supplemental appropriations bill.
In the exchange, Foley and the teen "both appear to describe having sexual orgasms," the ABC report said.
After, Foley wrote: "ok…I better go vote…did you know you would have this effect on me"
The teen responded: "lol (shorthand for laughing out loud) I guessed"
The teen continued: "ya go vote…I don’t want to keep you from doing our job"
Foley then asked for " a good kiss goodnight"
The teen sent an online kiss: "
In another exchange reported by ABC, Foley invited the teen and a friend to his Capitol Hill home for a drink.
Teen: "are you going to be in town over the veterans day weekend"
Foley: "I may be now that your (sic) coming"
Later in the conversation, Foley says Congress will be adjourned that weekend.
Teen: "oh good"
Foley: "then we can have a few drinks"
Teen: "yes yes" (Internet smiley face symbol)
Foley: "your (sic) not old enough to drink"
Teen: " shhhh…"
Teen: "that’s not what my ID says"
Teen: "I probably shouldn’t be telling you that huh"
Foley: "we may need to drink at my house so we don’t get busted"
(E-mail Thomas Hargrove at hargrovet(at)shns.com and Amie Parnes at parnesa(at)shns.com.)