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FBI raids Special Counsel Buildings
May 6, 2008 10:07 AM   Subscribe

(Big) Newsfilter: FBI Searches Office of Special Counsel Building "A multi-year investigation leads federal agents to search the Office of Special Counsel's building. Employees have alleged the agency was misused for political purposes. Neither Office of Special Counsel head Scott Bloch nor anyone else has officially been charged with a crime. But the FBI secured a separate subpoena for Bloch's home."

NPR exclusive at the moment, but this is potentially big. Will be the news story of the day.
posted by spock (79 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Let me be the first to say.... nothing will come of this.....
posted by HuronBob at 10:10 AM on May 6, 2008 [6 favorites]


I'm not sure what happened, but I can only hope that congress is retroactively making it legal as we speak.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:15 AM on May 6, 2008 [18 favorites]


Interestingly, a probably related to this, Lurita Doan (Administrator, U.S. General Services Administration) has been waging an uphill battle against the "Status Quo" and whistleblowing against the Inspector General of the GSA. When the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency recently dismissed whistleblower complaints against the inspector general, Doan very publicly and stridently criticized the panel as a "hollow shell" that's "real purpose is to whitewash any wrongdoing." She also vowed to continue pressing those complaints.

Her "unconventional tactics were on display last Wednesday at a GSA conference in Anaheim, Calif. At a dinner sponsored by a contractor trade group, she appeared on stage with arrows sticking out of her head, shoulders, arms and legs, according to a transcript of the speech posted on GSA's Web site." (via TPM Muckraker)
posted by spock at 10:17 AM on May 6, 2008


The news story of the DAY? I guess that means it's knocking off the Johansson engagement.

OK, I agree this might end up being news... but shouldn't we wait until it IS news? This article is pretty thin.
posted by rooftop secrets at 10:19 AM on May 6, 2008


Memo from CNN: Endless electoral speculation and polygamy are the only two allowable news subjects!
posted by Artw at 10:21 AM on May 6, 2008 [4 favorites]


As you may know, the Special Counsel's Office is supposed to facilitate Federal whistleblowers. Instead they have been accused of "Waging War on Whistleblowers". This FBI raid would seem to lend credence to that position.
posted by spock at 10:22 AM on May 6, 2008


Another interesting dimension to this story worth mentioning (though I predict this fpp won't last long in it's current form): Just before this investigation into wrongdoing on the part of the Office of Special Counsel began, this happened:

The federal Office of Special Counsel will investigate the White House political office run by key Bush adviser Karl Rove.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:23 AM on May 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wait, wasn't Lurita Doan the one that admitted a year or two ago that they were using gov't resources for Republican campaigning?
posted by DU at 10:23 AM on May 6, 2008


The infamous Lurita Doan?! Well, maybe the administration should worry about whether Lurita Doan will get her memory back now that she is a disgruntled ex-employee.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:25 AM on May 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Finally, the corruption and lies of the Bush administration will be exposed!
posted by gagglezoomer at 10:25 AM on May 6, 2008 [4 favorites]


There is absolutely no chance that this will be the news story of the day. What were ya thinkin'?
posted by Justinian at 10:26 AM on May 6, 2008


This will be quite the Bloch on the Special Counsel's record.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:27 AM on May 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


WSJ reports that FBI Agents Raid Work, Home Of Special Counsel's Bloch:

"Mr. Bloch's agency is typically involved in sensitive investigations of alleged government wrongdoing. Before the departure of White House political director Karl Rove, Mr. Bloch's staff was looking into whether he or other White House officials improperly used federal agencies to help re-elect Republicans in 2006.

At the same time, Mr. Bloch has been under investigation himself since 2005. At the direction of the White House, the federal Office of Personnel Management's inspector general is looking into claims that Mr. Bloch abused his investigative authority, improperly retaliated against employees or dismissed whistleblower cases without adequate examination."

posted by madamjujujive at 10:31 AM on May 6, 2008


If this rather than the rising death toll of c. 22000 in Burma is the news story of the day, it is a sad world indeed.
posted by zeugitai_guy at 10:33 AM on May 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Bloch did some terrible things to employees:

Career employees in his office say Bloch blamed them for leaking the story and retaliated by creating a new field office in Detroit and forcing them to accept assignments there or relinquish their jobs.

Aaaughh! Anywhere but Detroit! Please make it stop!

As someone who grew up close to Detroit, it is funny/sad that it is now a place people are sent to be punished. Didn't we use to make fun of Buffalo or Poughkeepsie the same way?
posted by marxchivist at 10:36 AM on May 6, 2008


So basically everyone is investigating each other?

Sounds like one big circle of self-perpetuating political BS. The headline should read 'DUH.'
posted by infinitefloatingbrains at 10:36 AM on May 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


As someone who grew up close to Detroit, it is funny/sad that it is now a place people are sent to be punished
That's been going on since at least 1977.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:41 AM on May 6, 2008


but shouldn't we wait until it IS news?

I kind of like it when MetaFilter scoops the big news outlets.
posted by caddis at 10:42 AM on May 6, 2008 [4 favorites]


If this rather than the rising death toll of c. 22000 in Burma is the news story of the day, it is a sad world indeed.

The news story of the day, in the United States, are the Democratic primaries in Indiana and North Carolina. Even 20,000+ dead people can't compete.
posted by Justinian at 10:42 AM on May 6, 2008


but this is potentially big...

description of every indignity perpetrated on the American Public by the Bush Jr. administration. The key being "potentially;" ultimately amounting to a hill of beans. A small hill.
posted by From Bklyn at 10:42 AM on May 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm with zeugitai_guy. I don't care if they find Jimmy Hoffa, Tupac and D.B. Cooper in there playing Bid Whist with Cheney. Twenty-two thousand people dead in Burma.
posted by cashman at 10:43 AM on May 6, 2008


Isn't it Myanmar now?
posted by Sys Rq at 10:55 AM on May 6, 2008


The people in Burma/Myanmar are the bigger story. But this one should *some day* be the story of the day.
posted by mmahaffie at 10:55 AM on May 6, 2008


Let's see...

Justice Department was being manipulated by Karl Rove in the firings of attorneys. Special Counsels office is investigating that. Karl Rove's office was using Special Counsel's office to harrass and intimidate whistle blowers, certainly in the Dept. of Justice and the GSA. GSA was being used by Karl Rove's office to reward Republican donors and get the Republican message out. Former GSA head now arguing that the whistleblower system is broken and needs to be investigated.

I can't help but think that people in power are realizing that an election is coming up and there's a decent chance that the opposition party will have both houses of Congress and the Presidency. And they are scrambling hard to make it look like they were the good guys in this whole mess so that when political retribution comes, it may somehow miss them.
posted by afflatus at 10:58 AM on May 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Isn't it Myanmar now?

The only people I know that call it Myanmar are the military Junta and their supporters.
posted by chunking express at 10:59 AM on May 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


I think the real news could be that the prosecutions of key naughty persons might not result in verdicts until, oh, say, hmm... 1/21/09.

This is big news. It could be the beginning of the backlash against a perceived abuse-of-authority-culture. Appearance of impropriety: You gotta avoid it.
posted by ewkpates at 11:08 AM on May 6, 2008


Interestingly, a probably related to this, Lurita Doan (Administrator, U.S. General Services Administration) has been waging an uphill battle against the "Status Quo" and whistleblowing against the Inspector General of the GSA.

Lurita Doan a whistleblower? That's the crack talking. Doan is a political hack who illegally used her office to help Bush get reelected.

As for the "investigation" of Rove's E-mails, that's been going on for at least a year, and frankly, I think Bloch did it to forestall more meaty investigations. These are all Bush people, and none good.

Karl Rove's office was using Special Counsel's office to harrass and intimidate whistle blowers, certainly in the Dept. of Justice and the GSA.

The Office of Special Counsel cannot harass and intimidate whistleblowers. It has limited powers which are used (unfortunately) sparingly against agencies who are harassing and intimidating whistleblowers.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:15 AM on May 6, 2008


While it would be simply wonderful if someone in this corrupt administration got into serious trouble for all the abuses they've been getting away with, it simply is not going to happen.
posted by tommasz at 11:17 AM on May 6, 2008


Bloch, who has also been under investigation for allegedly retaliating against career employees and obstructing an investigation,

They use this exact phrase twice and never really explain what specifically he is accused of. It sounds like there might be an interesting story here, but I'm not getting it from this article. Hopefully more will develop so I have some kind of clue as to what is actually happening.
posted by quin at 11:17 AM on May 6, 2008


The only people I know that call it Myanmar are the military Junta and their supporters.

You've just put your finger on why it drives my crazy that the NPR stylebook uses Myanmar instead of Burma. Whoever made that decision really doesn't understand the situation (or just wanted to keep my hatred for Steve Inskeep well stoked).
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 11:18 AM on May 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


It sounds like there might be an interesting story here, but I'm not getting it from this article.
The OSC employees and nonprofit groups claim that Bloch retaliated against employees who complained about office policies, issued an illegal gag order, abused his hiring authority, discriminated against homosexuals, allowed political bias to influence enforcement of the Hatch Act and forced senior career staff to relocate from OSC's Washington headquarters to a new regional office in Detroit.
News stories can't be encyclopedias, especially on the radio. It's part of an ongoing, larger story, and you can find track its developments on the internet if you're interested.
posted by Miko at 11:24 AM on May 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Forgot to italicize that quote, sorry
posted by Miko at 11:24 AM on May 6, 2008


Bloch has been a controversial figure since he was appointed by President Bush in 2004. One of his first official actions was to refuse to investigate claims of discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Sounds like this couldn't happen to a more deserving guy. That said, there's an election in six months. The Bush era is over anyway.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:25 AM on May 6, 2008


The Bush era is over anyway.

01.20.09 -- The End of an Error.
posted by ericb at 11:38 AM on May 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


That said, there's an election in six months. The Bush era is over anyway.

unless mccain pulls off a completely undeserved and historically preposterous win. in which case, get ready for round two of supreme court 2.0.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:38 AM on May 6, 2008


That said, there's an election in six months. The Bush era is over anyway.

Silly drjimmy11. You're forgetting about President Bush's Emergency Third Term.

(or if you prefer)
posted by rokusan at 11:42 AM on May 6, 2008


wait, so then is it still cambodia too (instead of kampuchea)? i'm confused...
somebody hold me! (i also confuse hungary and bulgaria for some reason; i plead ignorance :)
posted by kliuless at 11:42 AM on May 6, 2008


As an employee of the Gov. You are told not to talk to the media or the press about the inner workings of your job. Sometimes...its time to talk. You have to admit...there have been some shady doings that have exposed C.I.A agents and high-class madams. The entire Bush admin.
is full of peeps appointed by Bush. The speaker of the house....Homeland Security....
Gonzolaz...The 1st guy who fudged up the Katrina recovery....etc. Election year can be a bitch.
posted by doctorschlock at 11:42 AM on May 6, 2008


The only people I know that call it Myanmar are the military Junta and their supporters.

Wow, I don't know any military junta leaders.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:56 AM on May 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


Are there any links to the search warrant affidavit yet?
posted by Pollomacho at 12:10 PM on May 6, 2008


I don't know if anything will come of this (and I'm not going to hold my breath), but I'm still doing a little happy-happy-joy-joy dance.
posted by rtha at 12:10 PM on May 6, 2008


Why are folks happy about this: Bush crony tapped to "investigate" wrongdoing by fellow cronies gets investigated by cronies for his own wrongdoing. So who's actually investigating Rove now (or ever), yep nobody at all, not even nominally or hypothetically. Hooray?
posted by Pollomacho at 12:18 PM on May 6, 2008


What makes this so much fun is that the OSC was investigating the DOJ for the U.S. Attorney firing scandals. Now the DOJ is also investigating the OSC.

Fun times in America.
posted by delmoi at 12:21 PM on May 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Isn't it Myanmar now?

I'm pretty sure you're thinking of Constantinople.
posted by grateful at 12:27 PM on May 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Who is the USA overseeing this case at the FBI? The FBI doesn't usually just "do stuff." Duke Cunningham and that whole CIA corruption ring got busted because of U.S. Attorney Carol Lam, who was subsequently fired.

So who's responsible for this raid? That would tell us a lot about whether or not it was being done for the "right" reasons. I assume it would be the U.S.A for DC.
posted by delmoi at 12:29 PM on May 6, 2008


Thanks Miko, that helps to put this in some kind of frame of reference.

From your link:

The long delay between the filing of the complaint and the assignment of McFarland to the investigation "reinforces the notion that the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency actually undercuts its avowed mission of effective oversight," said Jeff Ruch, PEER's executive director.


We have a President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency? Who the hell names this stuff? It's like some kind of bad dystopian joke.
posted by quin at 12:37 PM on May 6, 2008


Who the hell names this stuff?

The same folks that changed the General Accounting Office to the Government Accountability Office at the same time removing all accountability from government maybe?
posted by Pollomacho at 12:46 PM on May 6, 2008


"Myanmar Shave" doesn't have quite the same ring to it.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 1:06 PM on May 6, 2008


Personal e-mail sparks fire between Davis, Bloch:
Then came the bombshell. Davis released an e-mail message from Bloch’s private America Online account that was “sent to a number of folks — some of whom, by the way, were kind enough to forward it to me.”

In the e-mail message, dated June 19, 11:52 a.m., Bloch compared Doan’s testimony in the OSC investigation to that of former President Clinton in his grand jury testimony in the Monica Lewinsky case. He also accused Davis of acting like Doan’s defense counsel and saying “reckless things about OSC’s report and calling for my resignation. Weird Kabuki theatre, all this.”

In the same e-mail message, Bloch predicted what would happen at yesterday’s hearing: “I am going to show up for my reauthorization hearing on July 12, and Davis will either show up as ranking member of the larger committee or have Cong. [sic] Mica do his dirty work of raking me over the coals. We may have something to say about that.”

In rancorous exchanges, Davis, Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) accused Bloch of using government equipment to send personal e-mail messages during office hours about official agency business, a violation of federal rules on e-mail use. Mica called the “dirty work” reference the “ultimate insult.”
So basically, a guy who was investigating his fellow Bush appointees for possible violations of the Hatch Act made some comments critical of these fellow Bush appointees in an email, the email got leaked, so then, in a CYA move, he had the email deleted by a third-party vendor (a violation of the rules). And now the guy's authority to investigate violations of the Hatch act related to vote manipulation are considered compromised. And the only remaining governmental entity with any authority to investigate the allegations is in fact the entity accused of wrongdoing in the first place (DOJ).

In other words, the Bush admin, as usual, is playing some pretty hardball defense in order to avoid having its misconduct subject to closer scrutiny, some high-profile dems have apparently been duped into acting as willing accomplices to this defensive strategy, and it's working out well for everybody involved (oh, except all those voters wrongfully purged from the voter rolls in the two previous elections).
posted by saulgoodman at 1:08 PM on May 6, 2008


*BAWKS, FLAPS ELBOWS*
posted by quonsar at 1:15 PM on May 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


*claps four times*
posted by Pollomacho at 1:17 PM on May 6, 2008


Call me cynical; I think they're looking for the names of whistleblowers they can arrest, persecute, and impugn. FBI works for Bush too now.
posted by fourcheesemac at 1:31 PM on May 6, 2008


In light of all the fuss over a couple of emails in this case, this other breaking story about how, basically, all the White House emails from the time-frame surrounding the initial Iraq invasion have been deleted and are unrecoverable takes on a much deeper dimension of irony.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:36 PM on May 6, 2008


wtf. "oops, we deleted the most important emails of this presidency. our bad, sorry."
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:48 PM on May 6, 2008


I always thought there was no such thing as really, truly deleted...that things could always be recoverable to the correctly skilled person. Is that false? I guess the White House email could be set up differently, as well.
posted by Miko at 1:51 PM on May 6, 2008


my hatred for Steve Inskeep

Really? Sounds like you've got a lot of time on your hands. (Or a lot of hatred...) But I'm willing to be educated.
posted by msalt at 1:53 PM on May 6, 2008


The only thing that surprises more than the exceptionally corrupt, corrupted, corrupting, treasonous, contemptuous, desultory, despicable, curiously inept and yet effective, morally reprehensible, irreligious, irreverent, haughty, vile, collusive, secretive, radical, un-American, anti-Democratic, brain-explodingly blatantly impeachable, and just plain horrid this administration has proven to be is how consistently I am still out-raged and infuriated and maddened by it.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:09 PM on May 6, 2008 [4 favorites]


The real question is whether the Geek Squad guys found and kept copies of his porn.
posted by bicyclefish at 2:34 PM on May 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


The people in Burma/Myanmar are the bigger story. But this one should *some day* be the story of the day.

No, the story of the day is Jenna's wedding!
posted by homunculus at 2:45 PM on May 6, 2008


I always thought there was no such thing as really, truly deleted...that things could always be recoverable to the correctly skilled person. Is that false?

If you run your hard drive through a meat grinder, whatever is on it will be 'deleted' in a fairly permanent way.

Also, re-writing data on a hard drive a number of times is sufficient to erase the data. The more modern the drive, the fewer times you need to re-write it. On a modern hard drive, only a few rewrites would be needed, but on older drives you needed quite a few.
posted by delmoi at 2:47 PM on May 6, 2008


Really? Sounds like you've got a lot of time on your hands. (Or a lot of hatred...) But I'm willing to be educated.

I multitask and hate Steve Inskeep while driving to work.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 3:02 PM on May 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


So are they "career professionals" when they do something we like and bureaucrats when we don't?

I need to get my terminology straight.
posted by Andrew Brinton at 3:17 PM on May 6, 2008


If you run your hard drive through a meat grinder, whatever is on it will be 'deleted' in a fairly permanent way.

I guess now there are two ways that laws are like sausages.
posted by Riki tiki at 3:59 PM on May 6, 2008


the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency

That made me laugh out loud. Oh, the bitter irony that such an office exists.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:21 PM on May 6, 2008


...recently dismissed whistleblower complaints against the inspector general ... [it is] a "hollow shell" that's "real purpose is to whitewash any wrongdoing."

Of course. Black is white, war is peace. I should have known better than to acribe the name any face value.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:23 PM on May 6, 2008


The Bush era is over anyway.
01.20.09 -- The End of an Error.


I'll accept the first time as an error.

The second time was not an error. WTF, America?

Three strikes and you're out, y'know. Don't fuck up your next election.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:32 PM on May 6, 2008


The second time was not an error. WTF, America?
Three strikes and you're out, y'know. Don't fuck up your next election.


Word.

Here's the fantasy ending to this bad dream: after S.Carolina and Indiana primaries, the Obama and Clinton camps go relatively quiet for six days, then a big joint announcement that they've formed the Democratic ticket (Obama as pres, Clinton as VP). They then channel all their energy into pummelling the administration, underscoring the criminal acts, committing to cleanup & election reform, signing on to Kyoto, [insert favourite moderate/lefty goal here]

McLain is forced onto defensive position and is easily defeated. Criminal trials start in spring '09.

The film rights are still available.
posted by Artful Codger at 6:40 AM on May 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


(McCain, sorry sir)
posted by Artful Codger at 7:13 AM on May 7, 2008


That's my fantasy too, Codger, but I think it's more likely that McCain will name Colin Powell as his running-mate and win by a landslide.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:37 AM on May 7, 2008


it's more likely that McCain will name Colin Powell as his running-mate and win by a landslide.

Koff, koff... Nothing even remotely resembling that is going to happen. McCain is going to have his ass handed to him.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:45 AM on May 7, 2008


Just trading hypotheticals.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:48 AM on May 7, 2008


Just trading hypotheticals.

That's what eight years of Bush will do to an economy.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:05 AM on May 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


Back to the subject, NPR today said that "One subpoena demanded information about Bloch's 2004 investigation into whether Condoleeza Rice violated the Hatch Act by using federal money to campaign for President Bush's re-election. Bloch found no wrongdoing by Rice." They also said that the prosecutor is James Mitzelfeld, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1994 as a reporter for the Detroit News.
posted by msalt at 10:19 AM on May 7, 2008


McCain will name Colin Powell as his running-mate and win by a landslide

Oh, I hope he does. Yeah, PLEASE pick a highly visible member of the Bush administration, the man who was selected to be the sacrificial lamb to lie to the UN Security Council about Iraq and ended his career in disgrace. It would be almost as good as if he were actually dumb enough to pick Condoleeza Rice. It's not 1994, and Colin Powell is no longer an affable Cliff Huxtable.
posted by DecemberBoy at 10:55 AM on May 7, 2008


PLEASE pick a highly visible member of the Bush administration

There's a theory that suggests that this would actually be a highly successful strategy, on the assumption that the base will be energized by such a "my country right or wrong" kind of move and turn out in record numbers as a show of supremely misguided loyalty.

It's a theory I just made up. Whatcha think?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 11:05 AM on May 7, 2008


msalt: if that second NPR article you linked is any indication, maybe there's still a chance this could lead to a broader investigation that doesn't just serve to distract from the original charges of Hatch Act violations and other allegations of wrongdoing by administration officials, but i'm taking it all with a healthy dose of skepticism.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:26 AM on May 7, 2008




POGO has posted the document here (pdf). As they say, the document shows that Bloch worked to maximize the probe of Karl Rove and other White House aides against the recommendation of his own advisors.

the argument being advanced here is that bloch was only pursuing the investigation of rove and rice to protect himself from being investigated for his own misdeeds. and yet, if that's so, where's the investigation of rove and rice going now? why is this investigation of a lower-level appointee a higher priority right now? the advisers making the accusations against bloch initially argued against any further probe into the alleged hatch act violations (they're whistle-blowing now, in part, because bloch decided against their advice to pursue the probe anyway), which makes them sound suspiciously like admin flunkies to me. all of which makes me reluctant to believe they're whistle-blowing for the right reasons. somebody please explain why i'm wrong to be skeptical, and why this doesn't just seem like an elaborate redirection play? i know i'm missing something here (other than the $400 hand towels). what is it?
posted by saulgoodman at 2:37 PM on May 7, 2008


WP: Bloch ordered staff to close an investigation into whether Karl Rove targeted former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman's prosecution for political reasons, against career staff recommendation.

He also squashed an investigation into prosecutor Bradley Schlozman's decision to announce voter fraud indictments 6 days before the fall 2006 elections, while assigning staff to over-broad, time-wasting probes.
posted by msalt at 1:05 PM on May 12, 2008


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