Despite earlier reports to the contrary, Lance Armstrong is reportedly not off the hook with the federal government as a new investigation is launched into the now-disgraced cyclist, ABC News reported late Tuesday night.
The news comes after U.S. Attorney for Southern California André Birotte Jr., told reporters in a Justice Department news conference Tuesday that the criminal fraud case he dropped after a two year investigation without explanation —which included drug distribution, fraud, and conspiracy—would not be reopened.
But high-level sources told ABC News that “Birotte does not speak for the federal government as a whole."
According to the report, the current investigation is being conducted by an office other than the one that originally pursued Armstrong. "Agents are actively investigating Armstrong for obstruction, witness tampering and intimidation," the source said.
The Food and Drug Administration is also looking into aspects related to the Lance Armstrong case, USA Today reported Wednesday evening.
When asked about the Armstrong case, FDA spokeswoman Sarah Clark-Lynn responded:
"When the U.S. Attorney's Office declines to prosecute an individual or entity, typically law enforcement agencies do not pursue further investigative activities. That said, this is an ongoing matter for the agency and I cannot comment further."
When Birotte dropped the case in February 2012, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency picked it up and gathered evidence that showed Armstrong had been doping for over 15 years and that he intimidated witnesses who dared to bring the truth to light. The evidence also depicted him as a ringleader who bullied other riders to dope as well or risk getting cut from the team.
After the evidence came out in October, Armstrong finally confessed in an interview with Oprah Winfrey last month to having used banned drugs and blood transfusions from the mid-1990s through 2005, when he won the last of his seven titles in the Tour de France. He previously had denied it for more than a decade.
Armstrong, 41, who has been banned for life from sanctioned sporting events and stripped of his seven titles in the Tour de France, also faces a Wednesday deadline to cooperate with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in hopes of having his lifetime ban from competition reduced, ESPN writes.