The federal government is canceling the search for a new FBI headquarters, putting a more than decade-long effort by the bureau to move out of the crumbling J. Edgar Hoover Building back at square one, the Washington Post reports. The decision follows years of failed attempts by federal officials to persuade Congress to back a plan for a campus in the Washington, D.C., suburbs paid for by trading away the downtown Hoover Building to a real estate developer and putting up nearly $2 billion in taxpayer funds to cover the remaining cost. Officials from the General Services Administration, which manages federal real estate, are to announce the cancellation in a phone call with bidders and in meetings on Capitol Hill today.
For years, FBI officials have raised alarms that the decrepit conditions at Hoover constitute serious security concerns. The plan to replace the building grew mired in a pit of government dysfunction and escalating costs with no end in sight. Officials said a lack of permanent leadership at both agencies could have hindered the case for funding. Both agencies are operating under transitional leadership. President Trump’s appointee to the FBI, Christopher Wray, has not yet been confirmed, and Trump has not appointed a permanent GSA administrator. Trump has had an unusual relationship with both the GSA and the FBI. The GSA is the landlord to his D.C. hotel. Trump has been embroiled in a high-profile dispute with the FBI over its ongoing Russia investigation, having fired director James Comey, who lobbied hard for a new campus.