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Office of Special Counsel: What’s the Real Story?

The Wall Street Journal gets the gas face today for writing an entire story about an Office of Special Counsel investigation without mentioning that the government watchdog is itself being investigated.

The Journal dutifully reports that the Special Counsel has launched a sweeping probe into 32 different whistleblower complaints filed by Federal Aviation Administration Employees. The complaints follow-up on Congressional scrutiny about the FAA allegedly silencing inspectors who reported safety problems at Southwest Airlines.

But these type of ambitious-sounding inquiries is partly why the FBI raided the Special Counsel’s office two months ago. The watchdog’s job is to protect government whistleblowers. But Director Scott Bloch has been investigated for, among other indiscretions, deceptively claiming that the office is on the case of high-profile Bush administration scandals like Justice Dept. selective prosecutions and Karl Rove’s efforts to politicize federal agencies.

Instead, Special Counsel investigators say that by conducting these extraordinarily ambitious inquiries Bloch is both giving the impression the watchdog is doing a lot, while over-tasking investigators to the point where they’re doing nothing.

It’s not fair to automatically conclude that’s the case with the FAA probe. But the Special Counsel’s track record suggests the Journal shouldn’t be taking them at their word.

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