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May 17, 2010

Mikulski wants FBI to get a move on (to Maryland)

Combining her position as the FBI's budget overseer with a seemingly relentless drive to steer jobs to Maryland, Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski is trying to help the nation's G-men and women build a brand new main office, possibly in Prince George's County.

Word of a possible relocation has started dribbling out. However, an actual move could be years, if not decades, away.

The backstory: Last year, the Maryland Democrat slipped a provision into a spending measure, directing the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, to study the question of moving the Federal Bureau of Investigation from its main office on Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington.

In a statement by her spokeswoman, Mikulski described the headquarters building as "literally crumbling" and, in effect, a target for criminals or terrorists.

"Senator Mikulski is aware that the FBI's current headquarters does not meet employee safety and security needs," spokeswoman Rachel MacKnight said in an e-mail.

The GAO study could provide justification for Congress to approve construction of a new, consolidated main office for the FBI.

Built in the late '60s and early '70s and named in honor of the bureau's longest serving and most controversial director, the current HQ, a concrete monstrosity, is regarded as the ugliest structure on "America's Main Street."

"The J. Edgar Hoover Building is inadequate for the current FBI Headquarters workforce," Congress declared in the spending measure signed into law by President Obama in March, 2009. It said the lack of space has forced the bureau to house employees at more than 16 other sites.

The GAO was told to analyze the bureau's ability to do its job under current conditions and study the benefits of a consolidated headquarters facility. A report has yet to be made public.

Mikulski and other members of the state's congressional delegation are familiar with finding new homes for fast-growing federal agencies. For example, the Food and Drug Administration is currently moving to a large (and expensive) new consolidated campus at White Oak in Montgomery County.

News of a possible FBI relocation to Greenbelt first surfaced in the April 29 edition of the Greenbelt News Review, a community weekly whose reporter discovered the information in a lawsuit related to development around the Greenbelt Metro station.

The FBI has eyeballed other Maryland sites, including National Harbor in Prince George's County, for a consolidated home, a spokesman told the Washington Post late last week. The spokesman, Bill Carter, indicated that the discussions predated the current economic slump, which may have delayed further talks.

A GAO report would be the first step in setting a relocation in motion. Prince George's would be a favorite to get the new site, because it is under-served by the federal bureaucracy, compared with other DC suburbs, and because of Mikulski's clout on the Commerce, Justice, Science committee.

But there's no guarantee that Virginia, or DC, won't wind up as the FBI's new home. Or that nothing will happen for years, if not longer.

The last time the FBI asked for a new headquarters building was in 1939. It took 35 years for the first employees to move in.

Even under the best of circumstances, these things take time. The FDA move to White Oak will have consumed roughly a quarter of a century, from beginning to end, when it is finished sometime later this decade.

Posted by Paul West at 3:02 PM | | Comments (1)
        

Comments

Civil Rights and Liberties What are civil rights?  Let's explain what a right is.  A general right is just what people have when it comes to privacy and our way of life.  This is based on rules and regulations that we as people must adhere to on a daily basis.  Civil Rights have a whole lot to do with our culture, well being as human beings, and it also pertains to our heritage as people.  It also pertains to our liberties and personality that is formed by our parents.  Our parents are supposed to teach us the things that are right and wrong, so that we can understand what society is all about.  If it wasn't for our parents and the things that they have done to survive, we would not exist.  It is our parents that had made a conscious decision to conceive a life into this world, but it is God Himself that gives us life.  Conception is general!!  Civil Rights have a lot to do with our political freedoms.  Political Freedoms as well as our way of life is what really give us the right to live inside of this country.  Civil Rights and Liberties are very important to me and to others.  We have a right to form an opinion about anything that comes to mind.  The opinion that we make should not offend others in any way.  As long as we have a right to petition, speak, religion, education, family, and to live inside of a country that promotes good ethics.  I feel that my civil rights have been violated as of late.  This is simply because my concerns regarding public safety are not properly addressed.  This makes me feel betrayed by members of law enforcement as well as others inside of the community that I choose to live.  This is in conjunction with the way my responses that I had sent to the Dayton Police Department were deleted from the system.  I really felt personally that members of the Dayton Police Department should have given me a phone call personally to address my issues.  I am really saddened and hurt by the way members of law enforcement as well as those in state and federal government are handling legal cases.  Many police tips are not properly addressed and this is a violation of my civil rights and liberties.    This is also a violation of my first amendment rights as a United States Citizen.  I am writing this because I really feel that things are not being properly addressed when it comes to public safety as well as civil rights in the Dayton, Ohio Community.   Sincerely, Anthony Hopkins

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Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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