Jonathan Littman at Yahoo! has been all over the steroids cases for years. Yesterday he reported that I’m not some lone nut out there wondering when people are going to start taking the leaks of the 2003 list seriously:
“This makes the leaks so much more troubling,” said Charles La Bella, a former U. S. attorney and chief of the criminal division for the Southern District of California who now practices criminal defense in San Diego. “The information shouldn’t have been seized. People have been unfairly tainted by something the courts have ruled should never have been made public.
“My guess is that somebody somewhere has to be looking at this as a leak investigation.”
But who’s doing the leaking? No one is willing to openly speculate, but there are two passages in Littman’s piece which make me wonder if someone is trying to send a message about it all:
Peters said that a list of players who tested positive was created only after the government’s illegal search.
“Everyone talks of this list, like there was a list [of players who tested positive],” he said. “There was a spreadsheet [at the testing lab that contained every test result]. The government created a list, which it tried to disseminate.”
As for the consequences of the illegal search, Peters said he doesn’t know who committed the leaks. But he does have an idea of who created and printed the two- to three-page list of players who tested positive, the list that was circulated among at least a handful of attorneys and that resulted in the leaks.
“I have a strong suspicion the list was created by Novitzky,” he said.
Given that the illegal search could very well have been motivated to snag as many players up in this as possible, it would certainly make sense that a government lawyer or agent is doing the leaking. That said, it’s probably worth remembering that there are a lot more people than merely the government folks who had access.
The league, the union, individual players and possibly other interested parties had representation in this long, drawn out case, and any number of those lawyers could have access to the list. What’s more, we have to remember that it’s not a given that the leaks are motivated by a desire to out players as such. Money could be a motivator. So too could spite or some personal reasons that have very little to do with baseball or steroids in the first place. Remember Deep Throat? The most famous leaker in history was motivated primarily by his anger at being stepped over for a job.
Whoever it is, however, should be sleeping a little less soundly now that folks are openly speculating about his or her identity and making noises about flushing them out. And that’s a very good thing.