WASHINGTON – The FBI has raided the office and home of U.S. Special Counsel Scott Bloch in connection to an obstruction of justice case, FOX News confirms.
Both FBI spokesman Richard Kolko and officials at DoJ's criminal division — which heads up public integrity probes — declined to comment.
According to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the story, FBI agents served grand jury subpoenas around 10 a.m. ET on Tuesday, and seized computers and documents belonging to Bloch and his staff.
The Journal cited agency employees who said the raid appeared connected to a 2006 inquiry into his office, which itself is designed to protect those alleging government impropriety and fraud.
Bloch contacted the private-sector computer help company Geeks on Call in late 2006 to erase information from his government computer and from two of his staff members' computers.
Bloch has told investigators that it was to remove a virus and that he deleted no work-related files, but investigators believe he might have deleted data as part of a cover-up.
Bloch has been under investigation since 2005 by the Office of Personnel Management for allegedly overstepping his authority and alleged retaliation against employees.
He has been on the hot seat since he took office in 2004, in part for closing hundreds of whistle-blower cases allegedly without investigating them.
"It's just sort of jaw-dropping how bizarre this entire episode has been."said Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Protection, a whistle-blower group.
A group of current and former Office of Special Counsel workers filed a complaint against Bloch in 2005, accusing him of retaliating against those who opposed with his policies through intimidation and involuntary transfers. The employees also accused Bloch of refusing to protect federal workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Those charges are being investigated by the inspector general at the Office of Personnel Management.
In March, a congressional aide said, Bloch told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee investigators that the data wipe was done to protect government and personal information on the computer, not to destroy it.
Tuesday's raids were done in connection to a criminal investigation of whether Bloch obstructed justice and, potentially, lied to Congress, according to the law enforcement officials.
Bloch has denied any wrongdoing. In the meantime, he has opened an investigation into whether former White House deputy political director and Karl Rove protege J. Scott Jennings violated the Hatch Act by making a presentation to political employees at the General Services Administration. The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activities with government resources or on government time.
Last year, Bloch also recommended that then-GSA chief Lurita Doan be disciplined for engaging in illegal political activities and doling out no-bid awards. Doan abruptly resigned last week at the White House's behest.
Whistle-blower groups demanded that Bloch follow suit, and called on the White House to secure his resignation immediately. White House spokesman Tony Fratto declined comment.
"The fact is, this office is not functioning, this office does not protect whistle-blowers and this office is not meeting its mission," said Debra Katz, an employment lawyer representing the Special Counsel employees who filed the 2005 complaint. "President Bush needs to just tell this man that he needs to resign. There has been misconduct and he should not be allowed to continue his mission."
FOX News' Ian McCaleb and The Associated Press contributed to this report.