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Virginia lawmakers encourage pause on FBI HQ selection amid investigation into impropriety

Rebecca Barnabi
Courtesy of office of Sen. Mark R. Warner.

Earlier this year, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin and state lawmakers made a bid for Springfield as the new site for FBI headquarters.

However, in early November, Springfield lost to Greenbelt, Md. and lawmakers penned a letter in which they requested the Inspector General investigate significant concerns that the site selection process was fouled by political interference and alleged impropriety. The FBI Director also voiced concern.

The Inspector General of the GSA agreed to launch an investigation and now lawmakers are requesting that the FBI headquarters relocation process be paused to allow the Office of the Inspector General to properly investigate.

U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, and Reps. Don Beyer, Gerry Connolly, Morgan Griffith, Jen Kiggans, Jennifer McClellan, Bobby Scott (D-VA), Abigail Spanberger, Jennifer Wexton and Rob Wittman sent a letter to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

“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 lawmakers wrote. “We urge the Administration to pause efforts to advance this headquarters process, allowing for transparent and fair review.”

The lawmakers continued: “For more than a decade there has been a clear and shared understanding of the critical nature of this project. The decision bears significant impact on the law enforcement and national security missions of the FBI – GSA’s client agency on this project. 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. 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.”

The effort to relocate the FBI began years ago and has involved multiple presidential administrations. The lawmakers have been making the case for months that Virginia is the best home for the FBI because of the state’s diverse and developed workforce, proximity to critical national security facilities, and easy access to transit.

Related stories:

Governor and other Virginia leaders: Springfield site meets criteria for new FBI HQ – Augusta Free Press

Virginia lawmakers want investigation after Springfield loses FBI HQ bid – Augusta Free Press

GSA Inspector General launches investigation into site selection process of FBI headquarters – Augusta Free Press


Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.