If the Freeh report were a ship, it would be sitting at the bottom of the ocean.
The “top secret” investigation has more leaks than the Titanic.
We’re told the results of the probe by a team led by former FBI director
Louis Freeh will be
released in the coming weeks, perhaps in time for a Penn State board of trustees meeting Friday in Scranton. But some figured, why wait?
The Freeh group, at the behest of the trustees, interviewed numerous individuals in and around the university concerning the child sex abuse charges against former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, now convicted, and the reactions of top administrators.
Athletics director Tim Curley and former vice president for finance Gary Schultz face failure-to-disclose and perjury charges in connection with the Sandusky scandal. They are accused of lying to a grand jury about what they knew and did.
The Freeh report is expected to show a culture of centralized control that allowed for a cover-up of allegations against Sandusky in 2001 and the positioning of the football program outside Penn State’s disciplinary system.
But if there are any bombshells left to be made public, they must be real doozies.
This investigation has been anything but water tight.
Thanks to a series of leaks, we’ve already learned ...
•That a trail of emails links Curley, Schultz and former President Graham Spanier in an apparent attempt to hide allegations that Jerry Sandusky abused a young boy in a campus shower in 2001 (NBC, early June). Spanier has sued the university in a bid to obtain copies of that communication.
•That additional emails suggest that a discussion that included the late Joe Paterno led to a decision not to contact police or child welfare agencies about Sandusky and that 2001 incident, as described by prosecution witness Mike McQueary during the Sandusky trial (CNN, June 29).
•That even more emails support the notion that Paterno often handled discipline of players and other potential problems, duties that should have fallen to campus police or Penn State’s office of judicial affairs (Chronicle of Higher Education, Thursday).
Leaks have long been key tools for reporters trying to get the edge on a big story.
Indeed, investigative journalism is often more about relationships than shoe leather, about getting close to someone who knows what happened and whose lips are a bit loose.
In the early 1970s, The Washington Post’s Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward broke the Watergate story largely on the basis of Wood-ward’s relationship with FBI associate director Mark Felt.
Known then only as “Deep Throat” because he supplied information on deep background, Felt helped the reporters uncover a government scandal and bring down the Nixon administration.
The practice has taken on new meaning in the digital age, personified by the controversial website WikiLeaks, which publishes private and classified documents obtained from anonymous sources.
The notion of “leaks” became a political football earlier this year, when Republicans accused the Obama administration of slipping information to The New York Times for the purpose of positive publicity, at the alleged risk of national security.
And sometimes leaks become gushers.
In the days after the Sandusky verdict, Judge John Cleland issued an order that attorneys could no longer leak information to the media. This came after NBC played a tape it had “obtained” of a police interview with Sandusky’s adopted son, who said he had been molested.
Of course, the judge’s edict didn’t stop others from tipping off their favorite news outlets about aspects of the investigation. The leaks kept flowing — prompting Paterno’s family to cry foul and ask that all San-dusky- related emails be released to the public.
Any reporter accepting leaked information must question the motives of the source. What does this person or office stand to gain by giving me this juicy scoop? Am I being used (of course) and what is my level of risk?
Those doing the leaking have the power to turn an unknown scribe into a star by slipping him or her the hot tip or providing an inside look.
And let’s be honest. It’s what every journalist craves.
Some in the media have decried the proliferation of leaks during and since the Sandusky trial.
That’s beyond hypocritical and smacks of jealousy, not ethical indignation.
If someone at the Attorney General’s Office, a source inside Penn State or even Louis Freeh himself wants to pull aside the curtain and let me step inside, I’m ready. (Hint: My contact information is all over this page.)
Barring such a development, I’ll be waiting to see what’s left of this sieve called the Freeh report just like everybody else.
Chip Minemyer is the executive editor of the Centre Daily Times. He can be reached at 231-4640 and email@example.com.