FBI leaders have been vocal about their desire to keep the agency’s headquarters in the nation’s capital, where they have quick access to the Department of Justice and stand as a public-facing symbol of law and order. Lawmakers in Maryland and Virginia, riled when the Trump administration shelved long-standing efforts to move the headquarters to the suburbs, have put the old plan back in play, the Washington Post reports. Last month, they placed language in a federal spending plan to steer the bureau to one of their states. It’s the latest turn in years of political maneuvering, with Democrats accusing President Trump of derailing the move only to benefit his nearby hotel, and FBI Director Christopher Wray and other agency officials pushing to rebuild in place, as all agree it is past time to demolish the decrepit J. Edgar Hoover Building.
The FBI Agents Association, representing 14,000 active and former agents, is against a move to the suburbs. Its president, Brian O’Hare, said, “what is best for the mission is for FBI headquarters to remain in Washington, D.C. Now that lawmakers insist the suburban project is moving forward, FBI officials have floated a new proposal to create a campus in Maryland or Virginia for the agency’s cyber workforce, which includes several thousand employees, while keeping a substantial portion of its employees in D.C. Maryland and Virginia’s congressional delegations appear unmoved by the FBI’s suburban cyber campus idea. “Nice try, Mr. Wray,” said Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-VA), who wants the FBI to relocate to a Springfield, Va., location. The Hoover building, a hulking edifice that occupies an entire block of prime real estate in downtown Washington, is falling apart and doesn’t meet the agency’s security requirements.