FBI Director Christopher Wray raised concerns Thursday about “fairness and transparency” in the decision to select Greenbelt, Maryland, as the new location for the bureau’s headquarters.
In a message to FBI employees, Wray questioned the selection process by the General Services Administration and the decision of an unnamed GSA senior executive to override the unanimous decision of a three-member panel to select Springfield, Virginia, as the new site.
Wray noted the senior executive had previously worked for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which owns the land at the selected site in Maryland.
“We identified concerns about a potential conflict of interest involving the site selection authority and whether changes that individual made in the final stage of the process adhered to the site selection criteria,” Wray said in the statement. “Despite our engagement with GSA over the last two months on these issues, our concerns about the process remain unresolved.”
The GSA announced its selection of 61 acres in Greenbelt on Thursday, saying the agency had determined it to be the “best option for the FBI and the United States government because the site was the lowest cost to taxpayers, provided the greatest transportation access to FBI employees and visitors, and gave the government the most certainty on project delivery schedule.”
General Services Administrator Robin Carnahan said in a statement that “any suggestion that there was inappropriate interference is unfounded.”
“GSA and FBI teams have spent countless hours working closely together over many months, so we’re disappointed that the FBI Director is now making inaccurate claims directed at our agency, our employees, and our site selection plan and process,” Carnahan said.
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin and members of the state’s congressional delegation also issued a statement Thursday expressing concerns over the choice. They said the GSA had “overruled the unanimous recommendation of a three-person panel comprised of career experts from the GSA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation concluding that Springfield, Virginia is the site best suited for the new FBI headquarters.”
When asked about the decision to select Maryland, White House principal deputy press secretary Olivia Dalton told reporters aboard Air Force One: “It was a fair and transparent process.”
Read the full article here