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Watchdog to investigate how Maryland was chosen for new FBI headquarters

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A federal watchdog is investigating how the Biden administration chose a site for a new FBI headquarters following a controversial competition marked by allegations of conflict of interest by the bureau’s director.Video above: Maryland leaders welcome decision on new FBI headquarters Inspector General of General Services Administration studies decision to replace the crumbling FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., with a facility in Greenbelt, W. Maryland, rather than a site in Virginia, according to a letter released Thursday by Virginia lawmakers. GSA, for its part, said it chose the site because of its lower costs and easy access to public transportation. She supports the process. The idea for a new headquarters has been discussed for more than a decade, and the neighboring states of Virginia and Maryland have competed fiercely for the project. Maryland’s announcement earlier this month drew sharp criticism from Virginia. State senators and representatives said in a joint statement Thursday that there was “overwhelming evidence” to suggest the process was influenced by politics. They called on GSA to suspend anything related to relocation until the review is complete. “We commend the inspector general for acting quickly and encourage him to move forward to complete a careful and thorough review,” the Virginia delegation said in a joint statement. seen in full below. Maryland lawmakers, in contrast, said their state was chosen simply because it had the best site and that the project would move forward. “Any objective assessment will show that GSA reached this decision after careful and transparent consideration,” its leaders said in their own joint statement, viewable in full below. Evaluation of the agency’s process and procedures for site selection will begin immediately, the acting inspector general said in his letter to U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia. The GSA, which manages the government’s real estate portfolio, said it welcomed the decision and noted it had already released decision-making documents and a legal review of concerns raised by FBI Director Christopher Wray. “We carefully followed the requirements and process and support GSA’s final site selection decision,” an agency spokesperson said in a statement. statement. The review comes after Wray told staff in an internal message earlier this month that he was concerned about a “potential conflict of interest” in the case of a GSA executive choosing a site owned by a previous employer, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Wray voiced his objections. focused on the process rather than the site itself. The GSA denied any conflict, saying the site about 13 miles northeast of Washington was less expensive, had better access to public transportation and could be completed quickly. Joint Statement from Maryland Leaders: “Let us be perfectly clear: The new FBI headquarters project is moving forward. GSA selected Greenbelt for the new consolidated FBI headquarters based on it being the best site. Any objective assessment will show that GSA reached this decision after a thorough and transparent process. “After evaluating the facts, GSA has determined that the Greenbelt provides the lowest price and best value to taxpayers, the easiest access to public transportation, the greatest schedule certainty for ensuring that the FBI can move to a new headquarters that meets its mission and security needs as quickly as possible, and the greatest opportunity to advance the equity goals of the Biden-Harris administration. GSA has made its decision accordingly. While some may not like this outcome, GSA has clearly demonstrated that this process was transparent. a state-of-the-art consolidated headquarters that supports the FBI’s vital national security mission.” Statement Joint Virginia Leaders “Given the overwhelming evidence suggesting that the General Services Administration (GSA) administered a site selection process tainted by politics, we agree that an investigation by the Inspector General” is the appropriate next step. We commend the Inspector General for acting quickly and encourage him to conduct a careful and thorough review. In the meantime, GSA should suspend all resettlement-related activities until the IG’s investigation is complete. ”

A federal watchdog is investigating how the Biden administration chose a site for a new FBI headquarters following a controversial competition marked by allegations of conflict of interest by the bureau’s director.

Video above: Maryland leaders welcome decision on new FBI headquarters

The General Services Administration’s inspector general is investigating the decision to replace the FBI’s crumbling headquarters in Washington, D.C., with a facility in Greenbelt, Md., rather than a site in Virginia, according to a released letter Thursday by Virginia lawmakers.

The GSA, for its part, said it chose the site because of its lower costs and easy access to public transportation. He supports the process.

The idea for a new headquarters has been discussed for more than a decade, and the neighboring states of Virginia and Maryland have competed fiercely for the project. Maryland’s announcement earlier this month drew sharp criticism from Virginia. State senators and representatives said in a joint statement Thursday that there was “overwhelming evidence” to suggest the process was influenced by politics. They called on GSA to suspend anything related to relocation until the review is complete.

“We commend the Inspector General for acting quickly and encourage him to conduct a careful and thorough review,” the Virginia delegation said in a joint statement, viewable in full below.

Maryland lawmakers, for their part, said their state was chosen simply because it had the best site and the project would move forward.

“Any objective assessment will show that GSA reached this decision after a thorough and transparent process,” its leaders said in their own joint statement, which can be found in full below.

Evaluation of the agency’s process and procedures for site selection will begin immediately, the acting inspector general said in his letter to U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia.

The GSA, which manages the government’s real estate portfolio, said it welcomed the review and noted that it had already released decision-making documents and a legal review of concerns raised by FBI Director Christopher Wray.

“We carefully followed the requirements and process and support GSA’s final site selection decision,” an agency spokesperson said in a statement.

The review comes after Wray told staff in an internal message earlier this month that he was concerned about a “potential conflict of interest” in the case of a GSA executive choosing a site owned by a former employer, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

Wray said his objections were to the process rather than the site itself.

The GSA denied any conflict, saying the site about 13 miles (21 kilometers) northeast of Washington was cheaper, had better access to public transportation and could be completed quickly.

Joint Statement from Maryland Leaders

“Let us be perfectly clear: the new FBI headquarters project is moving forward. GSA selected Greenbelt for the new consolidated FBI headquarters based on the fact that it is the best site. Any objective assessment will show that GSA has succeeded to this decision after a careful and transparent process.

“After evaluating the facts, GSA has determined that Greenbelt provides the lowest price and best value to taxpayers, the easiest access to public transportation, the greatest schedule certainty to ensure that the FBI can move to a new headquarters that meets its mission and security needs.” The soonest possible and greatest opportunity to advance the equity goals of the Biden-Harris Administration. The GSA made its decision accordingly. Although some may not like this outcome, GSA has clearly demonstrated that this process is transparent.

“For the sake of our national security and the hardworking men and women of the FBI, it is imperative that we act quickly to build a new, consolidated, state-of-the-art headquarters that meets the vital mission of National Security Department.”

Joint Statement from Virginia Leaders

“Given the overwhelming evidence suggesting that the General Services Administration (GSA) administered a site selection process tainted by politics, we agree that an Inspector General investigation is the appropriate next step. We commend the Inspector General for acting quickly and encourage him to move forward to conduct a thorough and thorough review. In the meantime, GSA should suspend all resettlement-related activities until the Inspector General’s investigation ‘IG is finished.

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