NPR logo FBI Searched Bloch, Seized Flash Drives


FBI Searched Bloch, Seized Flash Drives

When federal agents searched Special Counsel Scott J. Bloch's home and offices on Tuesday, they also physically searched Bloch and seized two thumb drives, portable devices used to store data. Bloch's office oversees protection for federal whistleblowers.

Criminal investigators are looking into whether Bloch destroyed evidence to obstruct an inspector general investigation of whether he abused his power.

Bloch has admitted to hiring the computer servicing company, Geeks on Call, to purge his computer and two of his deputies' computers in 2006. He said the computers contained a virus, which necessitated a purge. Investigators are looking into whether the purge was meant to destroy evidence related to the current investigation.

Bloch told congressional investigators in March that before the computer purge, he transferred many files onto a portable drive.

Sources close to the criminal investigation, speaking on condition of anonymity, say Bloch carried two such drives on a keychain.

Investigators seized the drives when they searched Bloch on Tuesday. People close to Bloch now say the drives mostly contain personal documents, such as Christmas lists, finances and family photographs. But in his interview with Congress, Bloch said the drives contain, "some government files and some personal files," according to a transcript provided by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

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More than 20 FBI agents raided Bloch's home and office Tuesday morning. The agents seized computers and shut down e-mail service, as first reported by NPR News.

On Wednesday, Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA), the top Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, called for Bloch to resign. Davis said in a statement, "It's time the OSC put this turbulent period behind it and return to the important work of protecting federal whistleblowers."

No one has been charged with a crime, and neither Bloch nor his lawyers has commented.

Sources close to Bloch say he does not intend to leave his job.