The St. Louis Cardinals have fired scouting director Chris Correa, who took an indefinite leave of absence amid the ongoing investigation into the alleged hacking of a Houston Astros internal database.
Correa's attorney, Nicholas Williams, confirmed his client's termination to Robert Patrick and Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
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 benefitted from that roguish behavior.
Correa, 34, was hired as the team's scouting director in December. He had been with the organization since 2009, working closely with Jeff Luhnow, the current general manager of the Astros who was in charge of developing Houston's internal database.
The FBI is currently investigating whether Cardinals officials hacked into Houston's database to obtain confidential files about trades, free-agency moves and other classified information. Luhnow set up a similar system during his time with the Cardinals. Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times reported law enforcement believes "vengeful" employees who did not get along with Luhnow are responsible for the hacking.
In June 2014, 10 months' worth of Astros internal communication leaked online. The Times report indicated Cardinals officials were able to gain access to the database because Luhnow used the same passwords he did in St. Louis, an accusation Luhnow denied in an interview with Ben Reiter of Sports Illustrated:
That’s absolutely false. I absolutely know about password hygiene and best practices. I’m certainly aware of how important passwords are, as well as of the importance of keeping them updated. A lot of my job in baseball, as it was in high tech, is to make sure that intellectual property is protected. I take that seriously and hold myself and those who work for me to a very high standard.
The Post-Dispatch report cites a source saying Correa admitted to hacking the database in order to see if Luhnow was using the club's proprietary data. He has denied any involvement with leaking the data to the press.
Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. and general manager John Mozeliak have denied any connection to the hacking.
“There was zero knowledge until the FBI launched their investigation and we became aware of it,” DeWitt said, per Patrick.
Major League Baseball and the Cardinals say they are fully cooperating with the FBI investigation.
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