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White House urged to hold off on FBI HQ move to Maryland while review continues

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Jennifer Shutt

(Colorado Newsline) Virginia lawmakers are asking the Biden administration to “pause” work on a new headquarters for the Federal Bureau of Investigation until a government watchdog can complete a review into how a Maryland site was selected.

The letter from 11 members of Virginia’s congressional delegation to Shalanda Young, director of the Office of Management and Budget, urges her agency to place a temporary hold on the project.

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“It is vital that both GSA and the FBI fully cooperate and provide relevant information to the Inspector General’s review, and that they allow time and space for investigatory efforts to reach a thorough conclusion,” the Virginia lawmakers wrote. “We urge the Administration to pause efforts to advance this headquarters process, allowing for transparent and fair review.”

The General Services Administration has been working to select a location for the new FBI headquarters for well over a decade — ultimately narrowing down the choices to Greenbelt, Maryland; Landover, Maryland; and Springfield, Virginia.

The GSA selected Greenbelt as the location in early November, leading to celebrations in Maryland and frustrations from many of Virginia’s elected officials.

The agency’s acting Inspector General, at the urging of Virginia lawmakers, announced last week he was “initiating an evaluation of GSA’s selection of the site.”

“Our objective will be to assess the agency’s process and procedures for the site selection to relocate the FBI Headquarters,” Acting Inspector General Robert Erickson wrote.

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Members of Virginia’s congressional delegation said Monday that work on the FBI headquarters should pause until that evaluation is complete. And they sought to emphasize concerns raised by FBI Director Christopher Wray.

“All of the parties involved, including GSA and the FBI, had previously stated publicly the need for a process that was fair, transparent, and determined by the merits of the prospective sites,” they wrote. “In light of the objections from the FBI, there is concern that this standard was not met. This process must be paused to allow for a fair and transparent review to address these concerns.”

Those members include Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, both Democrats; Democratic Reps. Don Beyer, Gerry Connolly, Jennifer McClellan, Bobby Scott, Abigail Spanberger and Jennifer Wexton; and Republican Reps. Morgan Griffith, Jen Kiggans and Rob Wittman.

Colorado Newsline is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Colorado Newsline maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Quentin Young for questions: info@coloradonewsline.com. Follow Colorado Newsline on Facebook and Twitter.