The F.B.I. is investigating St. Louis Cardinals employees for stealing information from the Houston Astros' proprietary database last year, according to the New York Times. Michael Schmidt revealed what law enforcement officials believe to be the perpetrators' motive: Spite toward Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow. He also revealed the current status of the investigation:
The officials did not say which employees were the focus of the investigation or whether the team’s highest-ranking officials were aware of the hacking or authorized it. The investigation is being led by the F.B.I.’s Houston field office and has progressed to the point that subpoenas have been served on the Cardinals and Major League Baseball for electronic correspondence.
As is so often the case in stories such as this one, one media heavyweight drops the bombshell and then other organizations dispatch their reporters to tackle the story. In the wake of the Times article, the Wall Street Journal, Houston Chronicle, and Yahoo! contributed additional facts in pieces published later in the day.
The Wall Street Journal reported the following regarding the St. Louis employees who are currently the focus of the F.B.I. investigation:
That probe has led investigators to suspect employees of the Cardinals, those familiar with the matter said.
The investigation is focused on mid-to-low-level staff in the Cardinals’ front office, but it is continuing and no final conclusions have been reached, according to one person familiar with the situation.
The Houston Chronicle reported that the investigation has narrowed to a handful of Cardinals employees:
One person briefed on the case told the Chronicle that four to five individuals within the Cardinals organization are a focus of investigators, and multiple sources said the FBI is expected to complete its investigation soon.
The Chronicle article also provided some detail regarding the one of the subpoenas initially reported by the Times:
One of the subpoenas sought to gain background information as to what IP addresses - the identifying online marker of one's computer - were used to access certain websites, a person familiar with the situation said.
In an otherwise unremarkable opinion column at Yahoo!, Jeff Passan hid the following nugget, which seems to indicate the subpoena referenced in the Chronicle article proved fruitful:
One official familiar with the investigation told Yahoo Sports the FBI traced the breach back to a house in Jupiter, Fla., the city in which the Cardinals hold spring training. A number of Cardinals employees used the house, according to the official, perhaps complicating authorities' ability to pinpoint the alleged culprits.
In summary, the scene of the crime was a house in Jupiter. The current suspects are mid-to-low-level Cardinals employees. That could change as the investigation continues. But for now, it appears that no Cardinals executives are the target of the F.B.I. inquiry, which has narrowed in on a handful of suspects.