Virginia presses for edge in bid to land FBI headquarters

The J. Edgar Hoover Building, The Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)(AP/Andrew Harnik)
Virginia is pushing back against claims that recent changes in the selection guidelines for a new FBI headquarters have given Maryland an edge in the high stakes competition.

Virginia’s congressional delegation, along with Gov. Glenn Youngkin, said on Monday that they have sent a letter to the FBI and the General Services Administration, arguing that the Commonwealth remains the best location.

The letter comes in the wake of the recent GSA announcement that it had altered the weighting of various criteria, as a new site is considered for the FBI, which is now based in D.C.

The letter argues that even with the changes, Springfield, Virginia, remains the top choice for the new headquarters.

Supporters of the Maryland choices — Landover and Greenbelt — have indicated they believe the new criteria weighting helps their case.

But Virginia officials pushed back on that narrative in their letter.

“Virginia’s proposal for a consolidated FBI headquarters offers a reliable partnership, exceeding the site selection criteria across all categories,” the lawmakers wrote.

In an effort to counter Maryland’s argument that its proposed sites in Landover and Greenbelt would do more to advance social equity, Virginia also released a letter from local leaders, including various ethnic groups and organizations including the Northern Virginia Urban League and Prince William County Branch of the NAACP.

“Choosing Springfield as the new home for the FBI headquarters will help close the gap and provide economic opportunity to historically disadvantaged and underserved communities,” they said.

Maryland lawmakers have been encouraged by the change in the weighting of criteria, which they pushed for, now including greater emphasis on social equity.

They also argued the GSA put too much emphasis on location, which provides an advantage to Virginia, since Springfield is near the FBI Laboratory at Quantico. Location, while still an important factor, is no longer weighted as heavily as it was earlier.

Lawmakers from both states have been intensifying their efforts to lobby for the new FBI site, since the GSA has indicated a decision could come later this year. But the decision could be complicated by other developments involving Congress.

Some House Republicans have proposed withdrawing funding for the relocation of the FBI headquarters, due to various complaints related to FBI investigations.

Mitchell Miller

Mitchell Miller has worked at WTOP since 1996, as a producer, editor, reporter and Senior News Director. After working "behind the scenes," coordinating coverage and reporter coverage for years, Mitchell moved back to his first love -- reporting. He is now WTOP's Capitol Hill reporter.

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