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Area leaders urge action on FBI HQ move after new report finds fault in cost estimates

FILE - This Feb. 3, 2012, file photo shows FBI headquarters in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

WASHINGTON — Area lawmakers are demanding that the General Services Administration reverse its decision to keep FBI headquarters in D.C. by demolishing the J. Edgar Hoover building and constructing a new building at the site on Pennsylvania Avenue at 9th Street.

The demands follow a report Monday from the GSA’s inspector general, which found fault with, among other things, the GSA’s cost-saving estimates for rebuilding at the D.C. site.

The inspector general concludes that GSA’s calculations of savings are wrong and that it would actually cost more to rebuild at the D.C. site than it would to move headquarters operations to a suburban campus.

The IG also found that when members of Congress questioned GSA Administrator Emily Murphy on April 17 regarding White House involvement in the GSA decision to scuttle plans to relocate FBI headquarters to suburban Maryland or Virginia, Murphy’s testimony “was incomplete and may have left the misleading impression that she had no discussions with the president or senior White House officials in the decision making process about the project.”

“The GSA inspector general’s report confirms what we’ve suspected all along — the decision not to move forward with relocating the FBI headquarters was influenced by the White House and mismanaged from top to bottom,” said Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.

“It is clear that the administration’s flawed approach has failed, and that our law enforcement and intelligence workforce would be best served by returning to plans to build a consolidated headquarters building,” said Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.

Springfield, Virginia; Greenbelt, Maryland; and Landover, Maryland, had been competing to become home to a new FBI headquarters when the GSA scrapped the plan to move last year.

“I fully support GSA and the FBI returning to its original plan to build a fully consolidated FBI headquarters at one of the sites selected in the initial procurement,” said Rep. Anthony Brown, D-Md.

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., is calling for House hearings on the GSA’s FBI headquarters decision, charging that GSA officials obscured White House involvement in the decision.

In a statement released Monday, Connolly said, “This IG report is only the beginning. We must develop a comprehensive understanding of the president’s involvement in this procurement and what it has cost the United States in terms of both national security and taxpayer dollars.”

GSA said in response to the IG report that its estimates “are accurate, transparent, and more representative of the full costs of the project than the analysis put forth in the IG review,” The Associated Press reported.

The IG report said that Murphy, sworn in Dec. 12, 2017, stressed that it was FBI leadership, including Director Christopher Wray, who expressed a preference for keeping headquarters at its current site on Pennsylvania Avenue.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 


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