From ChannelWeb Network:
A top Bush administration official in charge of probing Karl Rove’s White House political activities is alleged to have improperly deleted all of the data on his office PC by means of a “seven-level wipe” conducted by a 1-800-905-GEEK technician.
Scott Bloch heads the Office of Special Counsel, which is investigating possible Hatch Act violations by Karl Rove when the ex-deputy White House chief of staff served in the Bush administration. Bloch himself is under investigation for various alleged improprieties by the federal Office of Personnel Management, whose investigators say Bloch “erased all the files on his office personal computer late last year,” according to a Wall Street Journal report published Tuesday.
Executive branch officers are required to preserve all official communications, including e-mail, by the Presidential and Federal Records Acts, Watergate-era laws which establish that such communications are the property of the American people and cannot be destroyed.
Bloch could also face charges of obstructing the Office of Personnel Management investigation, said Anne Weismann, chief counsel for private watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).
In an interview, the 49-year-old former labor-law litigator from Lawrence, Kan., confirmed that he contacted Geeks on Call but said he was trying to eradicate a virus that had seized control of his computer.”
But the Journal claims to have reviewed a receipt for two December 2006 visits to Bloch’s office by a Washington, D.C.-area 1-800-905-GEEK franchise that doesn’t mention a virus on Bloch’s computer. Instead, the receipt shows a total charge of $1,149 paid for by Bloch with an agency credit card and notes that “a seven-level wipe was performed.”
[…]Jeff Phelps, the owner of that Washington, D.C. 1-800-905-GEEK franchise, told the Journal: “We don’t do a seven-level wipe for a virus.”
A seven-level wipe of a computer is the most comprehensive possible method of eradicating any traces of stored information that could later be used to reconstruct the data by investigators, said Rurik Bradbury, VP of strategy at hosted e-mail and IT provider Intermedia.
Both Bradbury and CREW’s Weismann believed that whatever data Bloch had wiped from his own computer, much of it, including any e-mails he sent from the device, should still exist as back-ups on storage servers.
“You’d expect that all the files [on a federal agency computer] are on an intranet, so it’s very likely they’re living somewhere and can be recovered,” Bradbury said.