The lede in the

The lede in the NYT Sunday piece gets it about right:

Top House Republicans knew for months about e-mail traffic between Representative Mark Foley and a former teenage page, but kept the matter secret and allowed Mr. Foley to remain head of a Congressional caucus on children’s issues, Republican lawmakers said Saturday.

Buried deep in the piece is the suggestion of a possible federal criminal investigation:

At the Justice Department, an official said that there was no investigation under way but that the agency had “real interest” in examining the circumstances to see if any crimes were committed.

The statement that Hastert’s office released late today came only “after senior aides, the House clerk and legal advisers huddled for much of Saturday in the Capitol.”

It’s a bit ironic that while denying for the past two days that they were circling the wagons back when the information about Foley first came to their attention, the GOP leadership has been . . . circling the wagons.

One still doesn’t get the sense that their focus is on the alleged victims of Foley, or on the possible unknown victims. If the allegations against Foley are true, the kind of conduct involved is rarely isolated or limited to one victim.

So what does the GOP leadership propose to do to figure out who those victims are and provide them with assistance? A toll-free telephone number for pages and their parents to report concerns. But that pre-supposes that once a report is received, the GOP will actually do something about it.