Scott Bloch, the controversial former head of the Office of Special Counsel during much of the Bush administration, was charged yesterday with criminal contempt of Congress by the feds. Media reports are also stating that Bloch plans to plead guilty, in what can only be seen as an admission that he did indeed withhold information from congress.
The OSC, of course, is the federal agency that is charged with investigating the concerns of federal employee whistleblowers, and protecting them from retaliation. Bloch was let go by the Bush administration in late 2008, after a seemingly endless string of controversies involving his leadership of the agency. These included, among numerous others, that he attempted to purge his staff of homosexuals, and that the total number of federal employees helped by OSC plummeted during his tenure.
According to the court papers, Bloch failed to give the House committee staff a complete explanation about his instructions that the repair firm, Geeks On Call, perform data deletions on Bloch's computers and on computers of two non-career appointees at Bloch's office.
Bloch told the House investigative staff that the data wipe was done to protect government and personal information on the computer, not to destroy it, according to interview transcripts.
That was one heck of a day in May 2008 when federal agents raided the OSC and the home of Bloch, confiscating numerous computers and file data related to the Geeks On Call fiasco.
GAP was long critical of Bloch, and we’re not surprised by this news. What we do continue to be surprised at, however, is the delay and failure of the Obama administration to appoint a new head of this crucial agency that acts to safeguard against government wrongdoing. The office has been operating without a head for 18 months now. It needs a leader.