The FBI Reportedly Prefers Virginia For Its New Headquarters, Drawing Heat from the Maryland Delegation
This comes as the House Republicans backed off holding the FBI director in contempt of Congress.
This article was updated with comment from the FBI at 6:10 p.m. EST.
The FBI is reportedly leaning toward Virginia for its new headquarters, thus turning up the heat from the Maryland delegation in this years-long battle.
WUSA9 reported on Wednesday on a document from the FBI laying out why it thinks proximity to the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia should play a big role in selecting the new headquarters location, which has been a years-long process. The other two options are in Maryland.
“Time after time, Governor [Glenn Youngkin, a Republican] and Republican members of Virginia’s federal delegation have called for defunding the FBI, questioned its motives, and scorned its mission,” said Rep. David Trone, D-Md., in a statement provided to Government Executive on Thursday. “We must ask ourselves: why should the FBI headquarters be moved to a state where it’s unwanted and under threat by the state’s governor and members of Congress? It’s outrageous and embarrassing.”
Maryland Gov. Wes Moore, a Democrat, said in a statement, “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, the new FBI headquarters should come to a state where the chief executive firmly supports the mission and people of the FBI.” Additionally, “When you look at our theory of the case, Maryland is the best location for the new FBI headquarters—on cost, transportation, and supporting the overall mission, Maryland is the clear choice.”
The Maryland delegation has previously decried the amount of weight proximity to Quantico is given in the selection criteria.
Macaulay Porter, Youngkin’s spokeswoman said, “Virginia is well-positioned to support the FBI headquarters with a diverse workforce, extensive transportation network and close proximity to public and private sector partners. Virginia's competitive advantage is clear and partisan attacks won't change that.”
The FBI said they continue to work with the General Services Administration “to undertake a fair and transparent site selection process to include collaborating on the appropriate site selection plan and criteria.” Additionally, “We are confident in GSA's expertise to select a location that will meet the needs of our workforce, meet the mission of the FBI, and will be a good deal to the taxpayer.”
The GSA didn’t respond for comment.
Despite the attacks on Virginia Republicans, there are also Virginia Democrats that have been vying for the headquarters in their state, such as Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., and Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va. Connolly and Warner have not been among those attacking the bureau.
Also, late last month there were reports that Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee have discussed blocking funding for the new headquarters over their concerns of alleged politicization of the bureau's investigations. Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., told The Washington Times that the funding is in “definite jeopardy.”
House Republicans have been launching their own investigations into the Justice Department and FBI.
Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., chairman of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, announced on Wednesday night that he was reversing course on the contempt vote after the “FBI caved under [the] threat” of holding FBI Director Christopher Wray in contempt of Congress and will let all members of the committee review an unclassified record alleging a foreign nation’s bribery of then-Vice President Biden and two other related documents as well as get a briefing on it. “Americans have lost trust in the FBI’s ability to enforce the law impartially and demand answers, transparency, and accountability,” Comer said.
Ian Sams, special assistant to the president and White House oversight spokesperson, said in a memo on Wednesday: “Multiple outlets have reported that the allegation in the form was examined by the Trump Justice Department and deemed not credible.”
And then on Thursday, Biden said during a press conference the allegations are “a bunch of malarkey.”
The FBI said it is standard practice not to comment on documents that bureau officials might have provided to Congress.
Dennis Lormel, president of the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI, told Government Executive on Thursday that the “trigger point” for a lot of this rhetoric was the FBI’s search of former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort last summer.
“I look at it as very hypocritical” and “definitely politically driven,” he said. “I’m certainly a proponent for congressional oversight” as well as oversight from inspectors general and the Government Accountability Office, but “what I see on the Hill today is anything but objective,” he said, adding that many of their claims are based on misinformation.