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Washington Post Editorial: PITY The 17,300 Workers and Contractors Assigned to FBI Headquarters

By The Washington Post
Editorial Page

WASHINGTON — PITY THE 17,300 workers and contractors assigned to FBI headquarters. Divided between the J. Edgar Hoover Building on Pennsylvania Avenue, where about half of them work, and 21 annexes in leased office buildings scattered over the Washington area, they are a beleaguered lot, judging from a report by the Government Accountability Office. Security is below par. Lacking super-secret conference facilities to discuss highly classified material, they are forced to shuttle from location to location. And, since the explosion of FBI hiring following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, usable office space is at a premium.

Nowhere are the problems more dire than at the Hoover Building, a crumbling, obsolete, concrete pile of Brutalist architecture that opened for business in 1974. Surrounded by a dry moat but, owing to its mid-city setting, still plainly vulnerable to attack, the FBI headquarters is an efficiency expert’s nightmare: horribly configured; stunted by endless interior corridors and, as countless sun-starved FBI office workers have learned, all but impervious to natural light.

Built as a fortress for the ostensible protection of citizens, the building now stands as an imminent threat to pedestrians, who risk being brained by wind-blown chunks of falling concrete.

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