About two dozen agents with the FBI and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management's inspector general swarmed the U.S. Office of Special Counsel in the District today, scouring for documents and electronic records.
Several high-ranking officials at the agency, charged with investigating government whistleblowers' complaints, were served with grand-jury subpoenas, said a spokesman for Special Counsel Scott Bloch.
Jim Mitchell, director of communications for the office on M Street near Connecticut Avenue, said that the agents had shut down the agency's server and displaced officials from their offices while they searched for records. The agents arrived at about 10:30 a.m. and were still there through this afternoon.
"I expect they will be walking out with boxes of documents and files," Mitchell said.
The raid stems from a nearly three-year-old investigation of Bloch by the Office of Personnel Management, which last year unsuccessfully sought access to Bloch's personal email accounts through another subpoena.
Bloch, whose home in Mt. Vernon, Va. was also being searched, in the past questioned whether the OPM had jurisdiction over him and his agency.
Last fall, The Wall Street Journal reported that Bloch had hired Geeks On Call in 2006 to scrub a hard drive in his office and several laptops belonging to former employees.
Several current and former employees -- backed by nonprofit whistleblower groups -- filed a complaint against Bloch in 2005 on charges that he retaliated against them for opposing his policies after he took over for a five-year term in 2004.