FBI Director Christopher Wray told agency staff in an email that he was concerned about a “potential conflict of interest” with the process used by the Biden administration to choose a Maryland location for the bureau’s new headquarters.
The email, obtained by The Associated Press, said that Congress may review the matter.
The General Services Administration (GSA) confirmed Wednesday that the new headquarters would be in Greenbelt, Md. — about 13 miles northeast of Washington, D.C.
The administration said the site was the cheapest location with the best access to public transit, but Wray argued that an executive overruled the board decision and picked land that is owned by a former employer, the AP reported.
The competition between Maryland and Virginia for the bureau has been tumultuous. With the FBI Academy located in Stafford, Va., officials in the state were critical of the government’s decision to place the new headquarters in Maryland.
Last year, Congress told the administration to consider land in three places for the new site, Greenbelt and Landover in Maryland or Springfield, Va.
Wray told staff that the board and the FBI all agreed on Springfield but an “exceedingly rare” move by a senior executive changed the decision and chose Greenbelt.
While House principal deputy press secretary Olivia Dalton told reporters that the process was fair and transparent.
“The 61 acres in Greenbelt is both the lowest cost to taxpayers, most transportation options for FBI workers, and we have the most assurances about the expeditious means with which a project could get underway,” she said.
According to Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Wray previously said he would prefer to stay in Washington, but experts have said a suburban location is better for the agency.
“Despite our engagement with GSA over the last two months on these issues, our concerns about the process remain unresolved,” Wray wrote. “There are still a lot of open questions, and we’ve still got a long way to go.”
Consideration for a new headquarters had been happening for more than a decade.
The Associated Press contributed.
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Author: Lauren Irwin