FBI director questions pick of Maryland site for FBI HQ, lawmakers react
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Total News Sources
4 weeks ago
[LAUREN TAYLOR | ANCHOR]
CELEBRATION IN MARYLAND FRIDAY MORNING –
AS OFFICIALS THERE CLAIM VICTORY WITH THE ANNOUNCEMENT THAT THE NEW FBI HEADQUARTERS IS SET TO BE CONSTRUCTED IN GREENBELT, MARYLAND – A SUBURB OF WASHINGTON, DC.
(ANGELA D. ALSOBROOKS / COUNTY EXECUTIVE, PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY MD)
“well I just want to first hear from team prince george’s, oh my gosh what a beautiful morning this is. Team prince george’s.. yes!! (claps)”
HOWEVER – NOT EVERYONE IS CELEBRATING THE DECISION.
FBI DIRECTOR CHRISTOPHER WRAY SAYS – CONGRESS MAY REVIEW THE MATTER AFTER HE SENT AN INTERNAL MEMO TO FBI EMPLOYEES – BLASTING THE U-S GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION’S DECISION – TO CONSTRUCT THE NEW F-B-I HEADQUARTERS IN GREENBELT… RATHER THAN SPRINGFIELD, VIRGINIA.
THE GSA IS RESPONSIBLE FOR OVERSEEING THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT’S REAL ESTATE PORTFOLIO.
CONGRESS DIRECTED THE GSA TO CHOOSE FROM ONE OF THREE SITES TO HOST THE NEW FBI HEADQUARTERS… GREENBELT, MD… LANDOVER, MD… AND SPRINGFIELD, VA.
(REP. STENY HOYER / MD – 5TH DIST.)
“this is a huge victory. Bob Mueller, the director of the FBI, 14 years ago in 2009 came into my office and he said ‘our building is falling down. Our people are at risk who work here. The people who walk around our building are at risk. And it was designed for a law enforcement agency that no longer exists. We’re in a new era. And we need a building that accommodates the way we do the work that we now do.’ And that’s what this building is going to do right here in greenbelt, Maryland (claps).”
WRAY SAYS HIS CONCERN IS “NOT WITH THE DECISION ITSELF BUT WITH THE PROCESS” OF HOW GREENBELT WAS CHOSEN OVER SPRINGFIELD.
AS PART OF PHASE ONE IN CHOOSING A SITE… OVER THE SUMMER – A THREE-PERSON PANEL – COMPRISED OF TWO CAREER GSA OFFICIALS AND ONE CAREER FBI OFFICIAL – UNANIMOUSLY RECOMMENDED THE SPRINGFIELD, VIRGINIA SITE – BASED ON CRITERIA INCLUDED IN THE SELECTION PLAN.
PHASE TWO CONSISTED OF A SENIOR EXECUTIVE WITHIN GSA TO “INDEPENDENTLY EVALUATE THE THREE SITES AND MAKE A FINAL DECISION.”
INSTEAD OF CHOOSING SPRINGFIELD…
THE UNNAMED G-S-A OFFICIAL CHOSE GREENBELT.
WRAY CRITICIZED THE DECISION WRITING THERE WAS A CONFLICT OF INTEREST WHEN THAT SENIOR EXECUTIVE CHOSE GREENBELT AS THE NEW FBI SITE BECAUSE “The Greenbelt parcel of land is owned by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which was the senior official’s immediate prior employer.”
WRAY HAD RAISED SIMILAR CONCERNS IN AN OCTOBER 12TH LETTER TO THE GSA ADMINISTRATOR – WEEKS BEFORE THE FINAL ANNOUNCEMENT WAS MADE.
NOW HE WANTS ANSWERS.
ACCORDING TO THE MEMO – WRAY ASKED THE GSA TO FURTHER CLARIFY WHY IT CHOSE GREENBELT OVER SPRINGFIELD AND CLAIMS THE GSA IS MOVING FORWARD WITH ITS DECISION “without meaningfully addressing the FBI’s concerns.”
VIRGINIA LAWMAKERS – ALSO PUSHING BACK ON THE GSA’S DECISION.
GOVERNOR GLENN YOUGKIN ALONG WITH VIRGINIA SENATORS MARK WARNER AND TIM KAINE – AND EIGHT MEMBERS OF THE VIRGINIA HOUSE DELEGATION SAID IN A JOINT STATEMENT QUOTE: “IT IS CLEAR THAT THIS PROCESS HAS BEEN IRREVOCABLY UNDERMINED AND TAINTED, AND THIS DECISION MUST NOW BE REVERSED.”
MARYLAND lawmakers and OFFICIALS CLAPPED BACK AT THE CRITICISM.
(SENATOR. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN / (D) MARYLAND)
“it is absolutely wrong of director chris wray to impune and question the character, the integrity and the independence of the site selection administrator (claps)”
THE MARYLAND DELEGATION HAS SAID – GREENBELT WAS CHOSEN AS THE SITE FOR THE NEW STATE-OF-THE-ART HEADQUARTERS BASED ON IT’S MERITS… TOUTING THE FACT THE NEW SITE WILL BE WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE TO THE D-C METRO –UNLIKE SPRINGFIELD–… THE SITE IS SHOVEL READY – MEANING THEY DON’T HAVE TO TEAR DOWN ANY EXISTING BUILDINGS BEFORE STARTING THE PROJECT… AND THE GREENBELT LOCATION WILL SAVE AMERICAN TAXPAYERS MORE THAN A BILLION DOLLARS.
THE GSA RELEASED A STATEMENT SAYING IN PART: “Any suggestion that there was inappropriate interference is unfounded. The choice of Greenbelt, Maryland, is fully consistent with the decision-making process as well as all laws, regulations, and ethical considerations.”
MARYLAND OFFICIALS SAY – THIS DECISION IS FINAL
(REP. GLENN IVEY / MD – 4TH DIST.)
“in fact, it’s hard to miss it. as steny suggested, it’s probably closer to 1.5 billion dollars in savings to the american taxpayers. so i don’t think the American taxpayers should have to spend an extra billion dollars so some fbi officials can have a shorter commute to the office everyday.”
MARYLAND GOVERNOR WES MOORE SAYS THE PROJECT WILL BRING A FOUR BILLION DOLLAR ECONOMIC BOOST TO THE STATE.