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Tag: GSA

Watchdog Group Confirms Trump’s Involvement in FBI Headquarters Project

Current FBI headquarters

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The GSA administrator who is overseeing the construction of a new FBI headquarters may have misled Congress about President Trump’s involvement in the debate over where to build a new campus, according to a government watchdog report released Monday.

The GSA inspector general report also claims officials understated the costs of building a new headquarters in downtown Washington D.C. by suggesting it would cost less than the original plan of erecting a new campus in the suburbs. 

The current headquarters sits near Trump’s Washington D.C. hotel.

The GSA last year scrapped a plan to build a new FBI headquarters in the suburbs in favor of building a smaller headquarters in downtown D.C., which would require some staff to relocate to Alabama, Idaho and West Virginia.

The inspector general’s report concluded that testimony by GSA Administrator Emily Murphy “was incomplete and may have left the misleading impression that she had no discussions with the President or senior White House officials about the project.”

During the hearing, Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., asked Murphy, “To your knowledge, was the president or anyone else at the White House involved in those discussions, either with your predecessors, people you’re working with now, or yourself?”

Murphy responded, “The direction that we got came from the FBI. It was the FBI that directed to GSA as to what its requirements would be. We obviously did coordinate, given that it is a substantial budget request, we coordinated that request with OMB to provide for funding but the requirements were generated by the FBI.”

The Post reports that Murphy had discussed the project with Trump, White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, senior White House adviser Jared Kushner and other White House officials

Some Congressional members accused Trump of intervening because his hotel is a stone’s throw from the FBI headquarters, and the president doesn’t want a competing hotel to replace the brutalist building.

GSA to Investigate Trump’s Abrupt Change of Plans for New FBI HQ

The FBI’s current headquarters in Washington D.C., named after J. Edgar Hoover.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The General Services Administration’s inspector general is investigating President Trump’s abrupt change in plans for a new FBI headquarters.

“My office will review GSA’s decision-making process for the revised FBI Headquarters Consolidation project,” GSA Inspector General Carol Ochoa wrote in a letter to Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Virginia, on Tuesday. “The scope of our review will include whether the revised plan properly accounts for the full costs and security requirements of the project.”

Connolly, a leading Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, requested the investigation to determine why the president abandoned a decade-long plan to move the headquarters to a consolidated campus in Washington D.C.’s suburbs.

Trump’s new plan calls for demolishing the current headquarters, which is cramped and outdated, and replace it with a new building.

Connolly and other lawmakers said the GSA has failed to give an adequate explanation for the sudden change in plans.

Decade-Plus Search for New FBI Headquarters Is Canceled

The FBI's current headquarters in Washington D.C.

The FBI’s current headquarters in Washington D.C.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A new FBI headquarters that has been in the works for more than 10 years has been scrapped, leaving agents and employees with no immediate solution to abandoning the crumbling, antiquated J. Edgar Hoover Building on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Among the stubborn snags has been Congress’ failure to provide enough money for a new building in the Washington suburbs. Under the plan, the FBI would trade the J. Edgar Hoover Building for space to build a new headquarters in the suburbs. The total cost to taxpayers was $2 billion.

Another roadblock was the lack of consistent leadership at the FBI and General Services Administration, which plans to announce the cancelation to bidders and in meetings on Capitol Hill this morning, The Washington Post reported Monday.

The 2.8-million-square-foot Hoover Building, which was dedicated in 1975, has been a constant source of frustration for agents and employees who also worry whether the deplorable conditions could cause security issues.

New FBI Headquarters Gets Green Light from Congressional Commitee

Current FBI headquarters

Current FBI headquarters

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The long-delayed effort to build a new FBI headquarters has gotten the green light from the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to move forward.

But the GSA still needs to finalize the location of the new headquarters, Federal News Radio reports. 

The committee approval was praised by chairman Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa.

“This will greatly improve the FBI’s security posture and its operations, and save money. But because of the size and complexity of the project, it will important to ensure there is strong congressional oversight to keep the project on time and on budget,” Shuster said.

The plan calls for the GSA and FBI to pay for the headquarters. President Obama’s 2017 budget proposal includes $1.4 billion for the project, which has already received $390 million under the fiscal 2016 omnibus spending bill.

Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., said many challenges are involved.

“What makes this project challenging is it is not a simple construction project of a single building. The project will be a secure campus with separate visitor screening, its own utility plant and specialized security requirements,” Barletta said.

More than Dozen FBI Agents Fell Seriously Ill from Massive Cedar Sculpture in Office

Photos via Instagram.

Photos via Instagram.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

More than a dozen FBI agents have become seriously ill after a massive cedar sculpture was installed in their Miami field office.

The federal government paid $750,000 for the 17-foot-tall sculptures, which was made from western red cedar, Artnet.com reports. 

Authorities believe the agents fell ill because of allergies to the sculpture’s cedar dust.

“The health and safety issues surrounding the sculpture were real,” Richard Haley, the FBI’s assistant director of finance overseeing department property, wrote in a document, as Politico reports.

“One employee required an 11-day hospital stay and none have been able to return to work at the new field office.”

The GSA spent $412,000 removing the artwork and cleaning the offices.

Yet Another Delay in Decade-Long Search for New FBI Headquarters

FBI headquarters

FBI headquarters

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Once again, the purchase of a new headquarters in the Washington suburbs has been placed on hold.

The GSA said it won’t select a location and builder until March of next year, the Washington Post reports. 

The decade-long search for a new headquarters has been narrowed down to three locations – Greenbelt, Landover and Springfield.

The concern remains about money as construction is expected to cost about $2 billion.

“Due to a strong and overwhelmingly positive response from developers to the solicitation [gsa.gov] issued earlier this year, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) now plan to announce the selected site and offeror for the competition in early March 2017,” said GSA spokeswoman Renee Kelly, in a statement.

“GSA and FBI are encouraged by the proposals received and are confident that, if Congress provides the resources requested in the President’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget, we will be able to deliver on our commitment to provide a world class facility for the FBI and a good deal for the taxpayer,” she said.

Federal Government Selects Site for FBI’s New Central Records Complex

Frederick County, Virginia, where feds are building a new structure for the FBI's records.

Frederick County, Virginia, where feds are building a new structure for the FBI’s records.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s new 256,000-square-foot Central Records Complex will be built in Frederick County.

The General Services Administration purchased the 59-acre site for $4.75 million. The feds plan to build a $109 million facility where more than 440 employees would work, Virginia Business reports. 

The idea is to streamline the FBI’s worldwide records management.

“The centralization of FBI records consolidates records from 265 current locations into a single facility,” Joanna Rosato, regional commissioner of GSA’s Public Buildings Service in the mid-Atlantic Region, said in a statement.  “The CRC will provide the infrastructure and technology for the FBI to continue to digitize records on demand.”

Planning Officials Worried about Feds’ Plan for Parking at FBI’s New Headquarters

FBI's headquarters is called the J. Edgar Hoover Building.

FBI’s headquarters is called the J. Edgar Hoover Building.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The search for a site for a new FBI headquarters may have hit yet another snag after the General Services Administration dramatically increased the number of parking spaces needed.

The Washington Post reports that planning officials are asking the GSA to reconsider its decision to require thousands more spaces than originally planned. 

The GSA has narrowed the location of the new headquarters to three sites – at Greenbelt, Springfield or Landover.

The GSA, after reviewing the three sites, dramatically increased the number of parking spaces and said it would not consider proximity to public transportation as a determining factor for choosing the location.

Planning officials said they’re worried about the ramifications of the new parking plan on traffic and the environment.

“I am writing to express concerns about GSA’s approach to parking for the new headquarters, which may have implications for local and regional transportation goals, environmental goals, and overall project costs,” National Capital Planning Commission Executive Director Marcel Acosta wrote to the GSA’s Mary Gibert.