House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) is pushing for the FBI to move its headquarters outside of the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Area, suggesting Alabama as an alternative location.
A letter he sent on Tuesday to House Appropriations Chairwoman Kay Granger (R-TX) argues that his panel is concerned about politicization in federal law enforcement, fueled by its concentration in the nation’s capital.
In making one of several recommendations for government spending in fiscal 2024, Jordan further argued the “centralization of FBI operations in the National Capitol Region has led to duplication of activity best left to the respective field offices, contributed to reduced autonomy in local field offices, and allowed improper political influence to taint law enforcement investigations and activity.”
Jordan went on to lay out possible language for his suggested provision.
“None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to build a new FBI headquarters,” the chairman wrote. “In addition, the FBI is directed to submit an operational plan within 90 days to move the FBI Headquarters out of the National Capital Region.”
He added, “The operational plan should also consider the existing resources and infrastructure available at the FBI’s Redstone Arsenal Campus in Huntsville, AL.”
The FBI’s current headquarters, the J. Edgar Hoover Building, started being built in Washington, D.C., during the 1960s and was completed in the 1970s.
The federal government has been looking to get a new headquarters in the D.C. area for more than a decade now. Delegations from Maryland and Virginia are fighting over the project as the General Services Administration weighs locations selected in both states.
Local reporting in Alabama indicates that the FBI’s Redstone Arsenal Campus is growing, but the bureau told The Wall Street Journal that its facilities could not hold the 8,500 personnel it hopes to put in the new headquarters around the D.C. region. The FBI also claimed there are “numerous operational reasons” to keep the HQ close to the nation’s capital, such as its proximity to the bureau’s academy near Quantico, Virginia, and intelligence agencies.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), who has advocated for the new FBI to come to his state, told The Wall Street Journal that a move to Alabama “ain’t gonna happen.” And he argued “the issue is what serves the needs of the agency. The FBI wants to stay in the D.C. metro area, so that’s where it’s going to be.”
When pressed for comment, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle told AL.com, “We’re proud of the FBI presence in Huntsville and will support whatever Congress decides is best for the betterment of our country.”
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