Shock and Awe on M Street

"Swift" and "total" are two words which come to mind after reading the morning-after accounts of the federal raids on the home and workplace of Office of Special Counsel Scott Bloch.

Twenty agents from the FBI and the Office of Personnel Management Inspector General’s office descended on Bloch's office starting around 10:30 a.m.  Agents reportedly caught Bloch mid-phone call, served him a subpoena and interrogated him.

Senior OSC staffers sitting down to a morning meeting quickly found themselves talking to agents instead of each other.   Meanwhile, agents moved to shut down the office's computer networks and email system, effectively shuttering a federal office, in an effort that former law enforcement officials told the Washington Post was "unusual, if not unprecedented."

In Fairfax Co., Va., still more agents searched Bloch's home while his wife and children were there, reported, which had some of the best details on yesterday's events.  Still more agents reportedly showed up at an OSC field office in Dallas.

Bloch is thought to be under criminal investigation for allegedly obstructing justice by possibly destroying evidence on his computer that was sought by OPM IG investigators. Bloch has confirmed he erased data on his computer but said it was to get rid of a virus.

But the raids appear to have targeted documents and information on a number of topics and issues, leading some to suggest that Bloch's troubles with the feds could multiply.

OSC sources told reporters that the grand jury subpoenas served by agents requested access to computers and emails from Bloch to other employees, Bloch's expense reports and credit card receipts, "information regarding his use of storage facilities or safety deposit boxes," and "material related to testimony he has delivered at congressional hearings."

The subpoenas also requested access to documents from closed OSC investigations into former GSA administrator Lurita Doan and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who was National Security Adviser to Bush at the time of the OSC investigation.

In 2004 Bloch concluded that allegations Rice had improperly used federal funds to appear at Bush-Cheney campaign events were unfounded. In 2007, he concluded Doan had violated federal laws barring officials from using federal resources for partisan political activity, charges Doan denied.

An apparently new allegation against Bloch rose to the surface in the Washington Post's coverage, intimating wasteful spending by the Bush appointee. "Some staff members had complained that Bloch used agency funds to buy for his office restroom $400 hand towels decorated with a special OSC seal," the paper reported.

Then again -- for a man under federal criminal investigation, clean hands can be priceless.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Prince performs at the Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, May 19, 2013.Prince performs at the Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, May 19, 2013.
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP Photo
PHOTO: Iraqi Kurdish female fighter Haseba Nauzad, 24, and Yazidi female fighter Asema Dahir, 21, aim their weapon during a deployment near the frontline of the fight against Islamic State militants in Nawaran near Mosul, Iraq, April 20, 2016.
Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters
PHOTO: A man uses an electronic cigarette in this undated file photo.
Martina Paraninfi/Getty Images
PHOTO: President George H.W. Bush and his son President George W. Bush have no plans to endorse Donald Trump, their spokesman told ABC News.
Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage/Getty Images; Tom Pennington/Getty Images; David McNew/AFP/Getty Images
PHOTO: A wildfire moves towards the town of Anzac from Fort McMurray, Alberta., On May 4, 2016. Alberta declared a state of emergency Wednesday as crews frantically held back wind-whipped wildfires.
Jason Franson/The Canadian Press/AP