Ranking Oversight Member Calls for Investigation Into FBI HQ
This Wednesday, Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Ranking Member on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sent a letter to the inspector general at the General Services Administration, calling for an investigation into the decision to scrap a years-long plan to construct a new headquarters for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on one of three finalist spots outside of the downtown D.C. area.
“GSA’s top officials were unable to justify their sudden decision to abandon years of detailed planning, and they provided insufficient information about the factors on which they based this decision,” Connolly wrote.
The agency has occupied its current headquarters for 43 years and the need for relocation has been widely recognized. A 2011 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) affirmed the FBI’s contention’s that the building was outdated and insufficient.
The Washington Post notes that the current building “lacks required security setbacks from Pennsylvania Avenue. Netting hangs on the Ninth Street NW facade to prevent broken concrete from hitting passersby 160 feet down on the sidewalk below,” and that “staff on the 10th floor sit in a space designed to house 35 million fingerprint cards, which were relocated to West Virginia in 1995.”
GSA has previously claimed that an $882 million funding gap was responsible for the decision to scrap the search for a new HQ. A plan released by GSA in recent weeks calls for the FBI to revert its plans to construct a new headquarters to instead use the current HQ land in downtown D.C., despite structural and security concerns. In the official announcement, the FBI and GSA recommended “the demolition of the current J. Edgar Hoover building and the construction of a new building on the same site. Under this approach, FBI employees would relocate to ‘swing space’ while the existing facility is under construction.”
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