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Federal Watchdog to Investigate Selection Process for New FBI Headquarters in Maryland

The selection process for a new FBI headquarters in Greenbelt, Maryland is under investigation by a federal watchdog following allegations of conflict of interest. The General Services Administration (GSA) inspector general is examining the decision to choose the Maryland location over a site in Virginia, according to a statement released by Virginia lawmakers.

The GSA has defended its selection, citing lower costs and convenient access to transit.

Credit: DepositPhotos

The competition to replace the FBI’s deteriorating headquarters in Washington, D.C. was highly contested between Virginia and Maryland. However, the announcement in favor of Maryland prompted criticism from Virginia officials who claim that politics influenced the decision-making process.

They are urging the GSA to halt any relocation-related activities until the investigation is complete.

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Virginia’s delegation expressed support for the inspector general’s swift action and called for a thorough review of the selection process. On the other hand, Maryland lawmakers assert that their state was chosen based on the merits of its site and are confident that the project will proceed.

The acting inspector general has stated that an evaluation of the agency’s process and procedures for site selection will commence immediately. The GSA, responsible for managing the government’s real estate portfolio, has welcomed the review and emphasized that it has already addressed concerns raised by FBI Director Christopher Wray through the release of decision-making materials and a legal review.

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Wray previously expressed concern about a potential conflict of interest, questioning the decision made by a GSA executive who had ties to a previous employer, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. However, the GSA has denied any conflict, noting that the selected site offers cost savings, better transportation access, and a shorter completion timeline.

Credit: DepositPhotos

In their joint statement, Maryland leaders reaffirmed that the project is moving forward based on the objective evaluation by the GSA. They emphasized the transparency and thoroughness of the decision-making process, which considers affordability, transportation accessibility, schedule certainty, and the Biden-Harris administration’s equity goals.

Virginia leaders concurred with the need for an inspector general investigation, citing overwhelming evidence of a politicized selection process. They commended the inspector general’s prompt action and urged a comprehensive review.

Additionally, they called for a pause on all relocation activities until the investigation is concluded, prioritizing national security and the FBI’s mission.

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