Christopher A. Wray, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, on Thursday blasted the selection of Greenbelt, Md., for the bureau’s new headquarters, citing a flawed process and suggesting that a top federal official had a conflict of interest. Wray claimed that officials with the General Services Administration, which oversees the management and development of federal properties, demanded that the F.B.I. relocate to Maryland, even though an alternative site in Springfield, Va., scored better on a checklist of selection criteria. But a senior G.S.A. official defended the decision, according to The New York Times. “Any suggestion that there was inappropriate interference is unfounded,” Ms. Carnahan said. “We stand behind the process, the decision, and all of the public servants who carefully followed the process and made a good decision.”
Lawmakers in Virginia and Maryland have fought for years over where the F.B.I.’s headquarters should be. And while Wray acknowledged he does not have direct control of the decision-making process, he does have significant political leverage. House Republicans could seize on his doubts to hold up funding or demand changes. Currently, the campus would be built near the Greenbelt Metro station as part of a larger multiuse development under the G.S.A. proposal. The bureau will maintain a smaller office in downtown Washington, with about 1,000 employees, a senior law enforcement official said. Leaders in Prince George’s County, one of the largest majority-Black suburbs in the nation, have long pitched the site as a vital economic project. The area offers ample space for expansion and access to public transportation and major highways, they have said, pointing to a highly trained workforce and a greater variety of merchants in the area than the somewhat isolated former building.