Eleven of Virginia’s 13 United States representatives want answers into a decision concerning the FBI.
The vast majority of Virginia’s congressional delegation request that Robert Erickson, acting inspector general for the federal General Services Administration, investigate how Greenbelt, Maryland, was chosen to be the future home of the FBI’s headquarters.
Their letter states, in part, “There is overwhelming evidence suggesting that the General Services Administration (GSA) administered a site selection process fouled by political considerations and alleged impropriety – one that was repeatedly curated to arrive at a predetermined outcome.”
As Virginia Mercury reports:
That decision, which was made by the GSA, has sparked a furious backlash from Virginia’s members of Congress and Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who have pointed to concerns raised by FBI Director Christopher Wray about “the fairness and transparency” of the selection process. In a letter to FBI staff about the Greenbelt choice shortly after it was publicized, Wray alleged that there may have been “a potential conflict of interest” involving a high-ranking GSA official who overrode an agency panel’s unanimous recommendation that the headquarters be located in Springfield.
“The FBI observed that, at times, outside information was inserted into the process in a manner which appeared to disproportionately favor Greenbelt, and the justifications for the departures from the panel were varied and inconsistent,” Wray wrote. “Moreover, with one immaterial exception, each of the senior executive’s deviations from the unanimous panel either benefited the Greenbelt site or disfavored the Springfield site.”
While Wray did not name the official in his letter, documents released by the GSA last Thursday identified the individual as Nina Albert, the agency’s former commissioner of public buildings and a prior employee of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which owns the Greenbelt site.
Virginia’s congressional delegation draws heavily on Wray’s account in its request for an investigation into what the signatories describe as “a fatally flawed procurement.”
“In defending the indefensible, GSA has decided to proceed with the selection of Greenbelt over the objections of its client agency, the FBI,” the group added.
The letter was signed by Democratic Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, Democratic Reps. Gerry Connolly, Bobby Scott, Don Beyer, Abigail Spanberger, Jennifer Wexton and Jennifer McClellan and Republican Reps. Rob Wittman, Jen Kiggans and Morgan Griffith.
Maryland officials have adamantly defended the selection process.
Both states fought viciously in what one observer called a “Beltway cage fight” for the new FBI headquarters. The Bureau sought for years to find a replacement for the run down J. Edgar Hoover Building.