You can bet these two paragraphs were lawyered to death. But unfortunately they raise many more questions than they answer, and they’ve already turned into more of a story than the story itself. The paper should have been much clearer on how it got access to the documents and what it actually got its hands on. It says in a statement to New York that it did nothing illegal and that “certain documents were provided to us by a named source,” which implies that it did not have access to the whole computer, as does this Gawker piece, which reports suggests that it wasn’t Tourre’s computer and reports that the Times only saw one document from it. I’d like to see the paper write a follow-up story explaining what happened here.

It’s awfully convenient for Tourre and his legal team that these emails ended up in the New York Times without having to directly leak them to the paper. I’d be miffed if I were Tourre and I was the only one who had been charged in this team effort. It wouldn’t make me angry to see these folks name-checked on the front page of The New York Times:

In the drafted replies, lawyers for Mr. Tourre named the other Goldman employees who they say worked closely on the Abacus deal with him: In addition to Mr. Egol, they included David Gerst, a securities lawyer in the Abacus group and Darren Littlejohn, another lawyer at Goldman who worked on the deal; Cactus Raazi and Gail Kreitman, sales representatives; Shin Yukawa, a credit ratings specialist; and others.

Nor would this:

A former colleague on Goldman’s mortgage desk who now works for another financial firm said he did not understand why Mr. Tourre had been singled out. “That has baffled me from the very beginning. I just can’t even begin to tell you how junior and insignificant his role was,” said this person, who asked not to be named because it could damage his career.

Mr. Tourre’s lawyers also pointed to an e-mail that February from Mr. Egol, which said “the cdo biz is dead we don’t have a lot of time left.”

Reading between the lines here, you can bet that Tourre is on the outs with Goldman. He has a friend’s attorney father telling the paper on the record that he thinks Tourre was ill-served by having Goldman pay for his lawyers instead of hiring his own, and the paper reports that Tourre has been on paid leave for a year.

I’d liked to have seen some explanation of why a potential witness against the company is still on the payroll when he hasn’t worked in a year. It sure makes it less likely that Fab will ever flip, despite having pointed fingers in the past.

Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at