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The Bloch Raid: A Mafia Turf War?


NPR is reporting that FBI agents have raided both the home and office of Scott Bloch:

FBI agents on Tuesday raided the offices of Special Counsel Scott J. Bloch, who oversees protection for federal whistleblowers. The agents seized computers and shut down email service as part of an obstruction of justice probe, NPR has exclusively learned.

FBI agents also searched Bloch’s home and a Special Counsel field office in Dallas. A grand jury in Washington issued subpoenas for several OSC employees, including Bloch, according to NPR sources who spoke on condition their names not be used.
This morning, FBI agents in Washington took Bloch into a separate room at OSC to interview him, while additional investigators searched his office. They also arrived at his home in Alexandria, Va., with a search warrant.

The Office of Personnel Managment’s Inspector General has been looking into allegations that Bloch retaliated against career employees and obstructed an investigation. Sources close to the probe said the FBI’s raid this morning was related to work the Inspector General had already done.

A 2007 WaPo article tells us that Bloch was hard on the trail of Karl Rove:

A U.S. official overseeing a probe of potential White House misconduct declared through a spokesman yesterday that he will not give federal investigators copies of personal files that he deleted from his office computer.

The decision by Special Counsel Scott J. Bloch escalates the confrontation between the Bush appointee and the White House, each of which is investigating the other.

Bloch’s office is tasked with upholding laws against whistle-blower retaliation and partisan politicking in federal agencies. Earlier this year, Bloch directed lawyers in his office to look into charges that former Bush adviser Karl Rove inappropriately deployed government employees in Republican political campaigns.

More recently Lurita Doan resigned after Bloch’s investigation of her use of federal employees and money to help GOP candidates in the 2006 election found that she had violated the Hatch Act.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel, a government watchdog agency, conducted its own probe of those claims and concluded that she made the remarks and violated the Hatch Act, which generally prohibits employees of federal agencies from using their positions for political purposes. In a letter last June, Special Counsel Scott J. Bloch urged President Bush to discipline Doan "to the fullest extent," which included removing her from office.

I don’t know who are the good guys and the bad guys here. Bloch has been accused by career OSC people of tanking investigations and retaliating against OSC staff. But on the other hand, he exposed one of Rove’s most easily indictable crimes. As we know from Siegelman, anyone who exposes Karl to danger of jail gets the full-on storm treatment.

So, I don’t know, this looks a bit like a mafia turf war–bad guys fighting with bad guys?

Or did Bloch start out as a loyal Bushie and get to a point where he could no longer go along to get along and decided to draw a line in the sand over the Lurita Doan/Karl Rove matter because it was JUST TOO BIG?

photo from democraticunderground

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