— From NBC's Pete Williams
Federal officials familiar with the FBI's very early assessment of the Mark Foley e-mails say that at this point, there's no clear indication that federal laws were violated. The law that might be involved is the prohibition on "enticement," which makes it a crime to use any interstate means of communication to entice minors to engage in any sexual act. But it's a relatively high threshold for prosecution -- the communication must explicitly propose a sexual act. The initial assessment, and it's a very early read, is that none of the e-mails that have been made public meet that test.
As for next steps, one official says the FBI will want to talk with the pages, current and former, who received e-mails or instant messages from Foley. Agents will ask if there are other communications not yet public. And they'll try to discover whether others were contacted as well.
Two Justice officials say the House legal counsel has told the Justice Department that efforts are underway to preserve any evidence on the Hill, and that the FBI is welcome to come and have a look. This has raised a few eyebrows at Justice, given that the House counsel fought so hard to keep agents from searching Rep.William Jefferson's office.