Three years after President Donald Trump canceled a decade-long plan to build an FBI headquarters in the Washington, D.C., suburbs, the bureau’s effort at securing a new home remains mired in uncertainty, with no plan or funding source and thousands of agents working at the crumbling and poorly secured J. Edgar Hoover Building in downtown Washington. Yet there is ample financial support and a clear plan for another FBI headquarters project, one in Huntsville, Al., that will welcome 1,500 of the bureau’s headquarters staff from the Washington region next year and probably thousands more in coming years, the Washington Post reports.
The architect of the flow of FBI staff to Alabama’s Redstone Arsenal complex is Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, who has shepherded the project through approvals and secured $1.1 billion in funding for it over the past four years. During the same period, Trump has fixated on building a new FBI headquarters in the D.C., including his recent insistence that the Senate GOP novel coronavirus bill include a $1.8 billion request for the idea. Trump’s request has hardened opposition from Democrats who are angry with the president for canceling in 2017 a years-long effort by the bureau to construct a secure campus in the Washington suburbs. Democrats say Trump’s interest is in preventing a hotel from being built on the Hoover site, where it could compete with the nearby Trump hotel. White House spokesman Judd Deere denied the accusations and said that “the FBI desperately needs a new building and this measure provides critical funding for this project that would keep the building responsibly near the Department of Justice.”