Instead of going with the in-house computer technicians, Office of Special Counsel-head Scott Bloch hired Geeks on Call for a 7-layer scrub of his computer and several office laptops to get rid of a virus last December, reports today’s Wall Street Journal. Such a cleaning is not usually performed for viruses, commented the guy in charge at DC’s Geeks on Call franchise. The cleansing occurred while the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Inspector General (IG) was looking into allegations that Bloch “improperly retaliated against employees and dismissed whistleblower cases without adequate examination,” writes WSJ reporter John Wilke.
Whether or not this unauthorized battle against the computer viruses was a cover-up or an improper administrative protocol will be the determination of the OPM IG, but POGO is wondering if Bloch can do anything that would get him fired. Today, POGO, along with several whistleblower protections groups and current and former OSC staff, sent a letter to President Bush recommending that he should remove Bloch from his position as Special Counsel.
POGO has repeatedly criticized Bloch's administrative actions on our blog. Today's news can be added to a long list of concerns, which includes inappropriately steering contracts (pdf) to friends and cronies, interfering with politically-sensitive investigations, closing hundreds of whistleblower files summarily without investigation, and advising female staff members to wear skirts that could lead to flashing their co-workers.
-- Ingrid Drake