The internal watchdog of the government agency , that selected Maryland for the new FBI headquarters, said it would launch an investigation into site selection. Virginia legislators and have questioned the process.
In a email sent to Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) on Thursday, Robert Erickson wrote: “Our objective is to evaluate the agency’s processes and procedures in the selection of the new FBI headquarters site.”
Warner and 10 members of the state’s congressional delegation pressed Erickson for an investigation into the site selection after FBI Director Christopher Wray expressed concerns about “a possible conflict of interest” this month.
In a letter dated Nov. 15, the legislators said that “overwhelming” evidence suggested the process had been “fouled by political considerations and allegations of impropriety.”
Erickson did not give any details on a timeline, but he said he would begin working “immediately”. He also stated that he planned to share the report that could follow the evaluation.
This month, the GSA confirmed that Maryland will be the new home of the FBI headquarters over Virginia. The two states had been competing for years to host this site.
Wray sent an email to bureau staff shortly after the announcement to express his concern about the “impartiality” of the GSA executive who had overruled a board decision by choosing land in Maryland owned by the executive’s former employer.
A spokesperson for the GSA said that it stands by its decision.
“GSA continues its welcome of a review our decision-making processes for the FBI Headquarters site selection. In keeping with our commitment to transparency over the years, we released our site-selection plan, our decision-making documents, and the results of our legal evaluation evaluating FBI concerns, the spokesperson stated in a press release. “We followed the process and requirements, and we stand by GSA’s decision on site selection.”
The FBI refused to comment on the investigation of the watchdog.
Warner, the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee , praised the Springfield site because it was close to Quantico’s Academy and other national security agencies.
In a statement released on Thursday, Warner said that the investigation was the “appropriate next step”. They also called for the GSA’s relocation process to be halted until the GSA had completed the investigation.