Trump admin scraps plans to relocate FBI headquarters
The Trump administration is abandoning a decade-long plan to build a new FBI headquarters in Maryland or Virginia, and has instead decided to demolish the current building and replace it with a brand new one — on the exact same site.
Local lawmakers blasted the move on Monday — calling it “inconceivable” — after it was proposed by the FBI and General Services Administration.
“I’ve never seen a decision handled with more mismanagement and more negligence,” Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) told News4.
The J. Edgar Hoover Building — located a block away from the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC — has needed to be demolished for quite some time, according to officials.
“Crumbling facades, aging infrastructure, physical, structural and security limitations in the degraded facility all are severely impeding the FBI’s ability to meet its critical law enforcement and national security missions,” the GSA explained in a statement. “The work of the FBI requires a modern and secure headquarters with technology and equipment to support the men and women of the FBI who are dedicated to keeping our country safe.”
Plans had been in place to build a new FBI headquarters in one of three places — Greenbelt, Maryland; Landover, Maryland; or Springfield, Virginia — after they were selected as finalists.
The GSA, which is in charge of federal property, had spent years lobbying for the relocation and even shelled out millions of dollars securing approvals for each of the three sites, according to the Washington Post.
But on Monday, the agency changed course.
“The idea is to build a modern and secure headquarters building across the street on the side of the (J. Edgar) Hoover building,” Assistant Attorney General Lee Lofthus explained during a press briefing.
“This is an important part of the President’s infrastructure program,” he said, “and I think folks are pleased that we can have money for the FBI building.”
The GSA and FBI have asked for full federal funding of the construction project, which is estimated to cost $3.3 billion. A move to Maryland or Virginia would have reportedly cost $3.57 billion.
Instead of consolidating the 11,000 federal agents working in the DC area — like the GSA originally planned — the Trump administration wants to ship 2,300 of them out to various facilities across the country, and split the rest up between the new building and Quantico, the bureau’s training academy.
The new plans were revealed Monday in a report to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, leaving FBI experts and members of Congress stunned.
“This sudden and unexpected decision by the Trump Administration raises serious questions about what or who could have motivated such a decision,” said House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.). “Why the Trump Administration would so suddenly forgo years of study that led to careful recommendations — not to mention the millions of dollars spent in the effort to move the Bureau’s headquarters — is beyond astounding, and quite frankly, extremely alarming,” he said in a statement. He called for Congress to reject the plan.