Thursday, July 2, 2015

Cardinals Scouting Director Fired - Says Dumb Things

The St. Louis Post Dispatch dropped a bombshell today regarding the hacking scandal. Belying the notion that it was just some rogue intern, a Cardinals lawyer announced today that they have fired their scouting director, Chris Correa, over the hacking of the Astros database. This is huge news, and eliminates any possibility this will just be swept under the rug and forgotten. This isn't Bill DeWitt or John Mozeliak, but it's higher up in the organization that anyone could have imagined. 

In the story, a statement from Correa's attorney offered up his "defense" 

In a prepared statement, Correa lawyer Nicholas Williams wrote, "Mr. Correa denies any illegal conduct. The relevant inquiry should be what information did former St. Louis Cardinals employees steal from the St. Louis Cardinals organization prior to joining the Houston Astros, and who in the Houston Astros organization authorized, consented to, or benefited from that roguish behavior."
Correa has admitted hacking into a Houston Astros database but said it was only to verify whether the Astros had stolen proprietary data, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation.
Now, I don't claim to be an expert in this area of law, but, this is really dumb. Unauthorized access to someone else's computer is a federal crime, under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. That's why the FBI is involved in this investigation. You don't get to commit a federal crime just because you think someone has wronged you. I feel like this is important advice. If the Cardinals generally, or Correa specifically, believed the Luhnow stole proprietary information, there were avenues available to them to redress that alleged wrong. Major League teams cannot sue each other, but they can bring complaints to the commissioner's office, who can investigate. Luhnow has already denied that anyone has approached him with such an inquiry. Based on the hacking timeline as we know it, with the first hack occurring in 2012, it seems unlikely the Cardinals have been sitting on this for over three years. Especially considering that the statute of limitations, under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, is three years from the discovery of the breach.

This is in no way the end of the story. Correa admitted to the accessing the database once, but has not admitted to any subsequent acts or leaking the information. Which either means he is lying, or some other rogue actors will come to light soon.