Drip, Drip, Drip of Foley Messages Part of Calculated Campaign?

<p><strong><img hspace="0" border="0" align="right" src="http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/images/apr_mark_foley_061002_nr.jpg" />Day One:</strong> Suspicious-but-not-explict emails.<br /><strong>Day Two:</strong> Explicit instant messages, but no evidence Foley met with boys.<br /><strong>Day Four:</strong> Instant message indicating Foley was indeed seeking to meet and possibly had already met with a boy.</p><p><b>Foley deserves what he's gotten and what is likely to come.</b> But it seems increasingly plausible that the timed release of information - of ever-escalating seriousness - is part of a calculated campaign to keep the story in the news and inflict maximum political damage on the GOP. </p><p>That would seem the logical inference in light of the latest information promulgated this afternoon by ABC News. An article written by Brian Ross and Maddy Sauer,<a href="http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2006/10/emails_show_fol.html"> E-mails Show Foley Sought to Rendezvous with Page</a>, contains the text of an instant message session in which Foley expressly tells a boy &quot;I want to see you.&quot; Foley also mentions &quot;I miss you a lot since San Diego,&quot; suggesting that perhaps they had already met.</p><p>When Ross' source provided him the first email, isn't it likely that he already had the more graphic instant messages in his possession? But dumping everything on day one would have reduced the number of news cycles of front page coverage. </p><p>Could the people behind the campaign have more bombshells in their back pocket? If in coming days we see, for example, the release of evidence that Foley had actual physical contact with a page, that could be the clincher as to this being more a political than a moral campaign by the leakers.</p><p>This story has obviously destroyed Foley's professional career. It might inflict wider damage on the GOP. But if it turns out that political partisans were behind a carefully-timed disclosure campaign, it's not hard to imagine a serious backlash on the Democrats.</p>

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.