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Tag: fbi headquarters

Long-Delayed Plans to Build New FBI Headquarters May Soon Be Back on Track

The FBI’s current headquarters in Washington D.C., named after J. Edgar Hoover.

By Steve Neavling

The long-delayed construction of a new a FBI headquarters may be back on track with the introduction of appropriation bills in the Senate. 

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Financial Services and General Government panel, announced this week language in a bill that would restart the project. 

Van Hollen blamed former President Trump for delaying the project. Trump has long called for the headquarters, which is a stone’s throw from his Washington D.C. hotel, to be built downtown, rather than in the suburbs.

“For the last four years, President Trump did all he could to block our efforts to construct a new FBI consolidated headquarters that meets the security and capacity needs of the Bureau solely because it stood to hurt his personal financial interests,” Van Hollen said in a statement. “We fought back tooth and nail, and now, it’s past time to get this project back on track. That’s why I worked to include language in our proposed legislation requiring GSA to provide an update on the construction of a new headquarters and urging the FBI and GSA to work together to move forward. The status quo is unacceptable.”

Van Hollen has advocated for a new FBI headquarters in Maryland.

The FBI has been searching for a new headquarters for years, but funding problems continue to delay the project. The current headquarters is cramped and outdated, critics say. 

The bill’s new language says:

SEC. 530. (a) No later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator of the General Services Administration shall transmit to the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate, the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives, and the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the Senate, a report on the construction of a new headquarters for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the National Capital Region.

(b) The report transmitted under subsection (a) shall be consistent with the requirements of section 3307(b) of title 40, United States Code, and include a summary of the material provisions of the construction and consolidation of the FBI in a new headquarters facility, including all the costs associated with site acquisition, design, management, and inspection, and a description of all buildings and infrastructure needed to complete the project.

(c) Any FBI headquarters project shall result in a consolidation of space in the National Capital Area and shall meet key tenets of the space, transportation, and security requirements included in the General Services Administration’s Fiscal Year 2017 prospectus (PNCR–FBI–NCR 17).

Special Agent Bryan Vorndran Picked to Lead FBI’s Cyber Division

Bryan A. Vorndran, special agent in charge of the New Orleans Field Office.

By Steve Neavling

Bryan A. Vorndran, who had been serving as special agent in charge of the New Orleans Field Office, has been named assistant director of the Cyber Division at FBI Headquarters. 

Vorndran became an FBI special agent in 2003. On his first assignment, he primarily investigated cocaine and heroin trafficking.

In 2008, he joined the International Contract Corruption Task Force in Afghanistan for five months before being promoted to supervisory special agent at the Counterterrorism Division at FBI headquarters. In 2012, he was promoted to unit chief.

In 2013, Vorndran began leading the Washington Field Office’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. Three years later, he was promoted to assistant special agent in charge of the cyber and counterintelligence programs at the Baltimore Field Office.

In 2017, Vorndran was promoted to chief of the Strategic Operations Section of the Counterterrorism Division at Headquarters.

A year later, Vorndran was named a deputy assistant director of the Criminal Investigative Division, overseeing FBI programs focused on helping dismantle transnational criminal organizations involved in violent crimes that impacted the U.S.

Before joining the FBI, Vorndran was an engineer in the private sector. In 1998, he earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Lafayette College, and in 2012, he received a masters of business administration from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.

Democrat Calling for Renaming FBI Headquarters Calls Hoover Racist, Misogynistic

The FBI’s current headquarters in Washington D.C., named after J. Edgar Hoover.

By Steve Neavling

Rep. Gerry Connolly, a Virginia Democrat who wants to remove J. Edgar Hoover’s name from the FBI headquarters, called the bureau’s first director a “maligned character” with a history of racism, misogyny and homophobia. 

“He was a racist who went after Martin Luther King in extraordinary ways. He was a homophobe. He was a misogynist,” Connolly said in an interview on MSNBC’s Cross Connection on Saturday. “He was somebody who even denied the existence of the mafia for decades, allowing organized crime to get a toehold here in the United States. It’s time we renamed that building after somebody who deserves it.”

Connolly introduced a bill on Feb. 25 that calls for creating a renaming commission to provide recommendations based on “racial, ethnic, and gender diversity.”

MSNBC host Tiffany Cross agreed with Connolly and suggested the building should be named after Georgia’s voting rights activist Stacy Abrams. 

“Changing the name of our premier law enforcement agency so it doesn’t honor a racist tyrant who trampled civil liberties, I don’t know, seems like a pretty logical step to me,” Cross said.

Democrats Cite New COINTELPRO Movie in Push to Remove Hoover’s Name from FBI Headquarters

The FBI’s current headquarters in Washington D.C., named after J. Edgar Hoover.

By Steve Neavling

Democrats who are leading a push to remove J. Edgar Hoover’s name from the FBI headquarters building are citing a new film that explores the bureau’s former attempts to discredit civil rights activists under a subversive program known as COINTELPRO.

COINTELPRO, or Counter Intelligence Program, existed from 1965 to 1971 and subjected African Americans to illegal FBI surveillance.  

“You take a poll and I would bet 90% of the society has no clue what COINTELPRO was,” Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn, who was among 23 co-sponsors of a bill to remove the longtime FBI director’s name, said, Yahoo News reports. “This is an ugly part of our past that is not well known.”

The film “Judas and the Black Messiah” depicts the stories of Fred Hampton, the charismatic leader of the Black Panther Party, and Bill O’Neal, the FBI informant who betrayed him. 

Cohen says he hopes the film will spur action on his longtime effort to remove Hoover’s name from the FBI headquarters. 

“That movie has gotten a grand reception, and it showed the interactions between the Chicago police and the FBI in the murder of Fred Hampton,” Cohen said. “That was part of COINTELPRO, J. Edgar Hoover’s organized effort to make sure there was not a Black leader who would rise up for civil rights and better conditions in the Black community.”

Time to Revive Long-Delayed Plan to Build New FBI Headquarters, WP Argues

FBI headquarters, via FBI

By Steve Neavling

The long-planned construction of a new FBI headquarters languished under President Trump. 

Now it’s time to revive the plan “now that facts are back in fashion,” The Washington Post argues in an editorial. 

The Post writes:

Mr. Trump’s meddling derailed an important project that would have saved money and enhanced the security of thousands of FBI employees. Now that he’s gone, the Biden administration should revive the FBI’s relocation to a nearby suburban Virginia or Maryland site.

“The move’s rationale hasn’t changed in the decade since the federal government concluded that the J. Edgar Hoover Building, completed in 1975, had become obsolete to the FBI’s needs. Today, thousands of bureau employees, for whom there is no space at headquarters, are scattered in office buildings around the D.C. region, at significant cost to taxpayers. The danger to pedestrians posed by falling chunks of concrete is such that netting has been installed on the building’s east facade.

The Post said relocation is necessary because the current headquarters is too small to be rebuilt, suggesting a “a nearby suburban campus — of the sort that has worked well for the CIA, in Virginia, and the National Security Agency, in Maryland — would enable the bureau to consolidate headquarters staff in one location, at a savings of hundreds of millions of dollars.”

“A new suburban headquarters would also allow for the construction of other features long deemed priorities, including a separate facility for inspecting trucks and a detached utility plant.”

Read the full editorial here.

House Democrats Introduce Bill to Remove J. Edgar Hoover’s Name from FBI Headquarters, Calling Him a Bigot

Hoover receives the National Security Medal from President Dwight Eisenhower on May 27, 1955, as then-Vice President Richard Nixon and others look on. (FBI photo)

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Democrats in the U.S. House are trying to remove J. Edgar Hoover’s name from the FBI headquarters building, calling the bureau’s former director a bigot who violated the civil rights of black leaders and political rivals.

Reps. Gerry Connolly, D-VA, Steve Cohen, D-TN, Dina Titus D-NV, and Karen Bass, D-CA, introduced legislation last week to remove any reference to Hoover from the building in Washington D.C.

“It’s long past time to rename the FBI Headquarters. J. Edgar Hoover was a racist, a bigot, and a homophobe,” Rep. Connolly says in a news release. “He abused his power and trampled the civil liberties of Dr. King, anti-war protesters, his political rivals, and too many others. He is no role model for any time, and certainly not this one. Congress must right this wrong and rename this building.”

The National Commission on Renaming the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Headquarters Building ACT of 2020 would create a nine-member commission to recommend a new name that reflects diversity, as well as the values of the FBI and U.S. Constitution. The members would be appointed by the president, the Senate majority and minority leaders, the speaker of the House and the House minority leader.

“As our nation faces a historical reckoning, we have an opportunity to right our wrongs and honor Americans who represent the democratic principles on which our union was founded,” Bass says. “J. Edgar Hoover used COINTELPRO to thwart the efforts of Black activists calling for equality in America. The program was ultimately designed to surveil, defame, and silence civil rights leaders, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcom X. Much worse, Hoover’s own racist views impacted FBI operations and countless racially-motivated hate crimes were left unchecked under his leadership. Identifying a namesake that reflects the true values of the FBI is worth supporting now more than ever.”

A similar bill was introduced in the U.S. House in 2015 but languished.

Cohen says it is past time to remove his name from this place of honor.”

“The civil rights we enjoy today are in spite of J. Edgar Hoover, not because of him,” Cohen says. “Yet, his name adorns one of the most prominent buildings on Pennsylvania Avenue in our nation’s capital and one that houses an agency of government responsible for assuring justice.”

$1.75 Billion in Funding for New FBI Headquarters Is Added to Coronavirus Relief Bill

FBI headquarters, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Funding for the long-delayed construction of a new FBI headquarters is tucked inside a coronavirus relief bill that Senate Republicans agreed to Monday.

The White House insisted the bill include $1.75 billion in funding for a new headquarters in downtown Washington D.C., drawing criticism from Democrats and some Republicans, The Washington Post reports.

Trump has long called for the headquarters, which is a stone’s throw from his Washington D.C. hotel, to be built downtown, rather than in the suburbs.

Asked why the headquarters funding was added to the coronavirus relief bill, Sen. Richard C. Shelby said, “Good question.”

“This is an administration proposal to move on with the FBI,” Shelby, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said. “They need a new FBI building down the street; it’s not safe to work in, you know, and so forth.”

Democrats were quick to criticize the headquarters funding.

“They managed to have enough money for $2 billion for the FBI headquarters that benefits Trump hotel and they say they have no money for food assistance,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said. “What the heck is going on?”

The White House defended the funding.

“As President Trump has said, 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,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said.

Alan E. Kohler Jr. Named assistant director of the Counterintelligence Division at FBI Headquarters

FBI headquarters, via FBI

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Alan E. Kohler Jr. has been named assistant director of the Counterintelligence Division at FBI’s headquarters in Washington D.C.

Kohler recently served as the special agent in charge of the Counterintelligence Division for the Washington Field Office.

When Kohler joined the FBI as a special agent in 1986, he handled counterintelligence at the Washington Field Office. He also served on the Evidence Response Team and helped the FBI investigate the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon.

In 2003, he transferred to the Counterintelligence Division to manage Russian counterintelligence investigations. He was promoted to unit chief in 2004.

Kohler began supervising a counterintelligence squad at the New York Field Office in 2006 before overseeing a squad that worked on cyber national security and criminal matters. In 2012, he began serving as an assistant legal attaché in London, acting as the FBI’s liaison with British intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

In 2016, Kohler moved to the Norfolk Field Office in Virginia to serve as the assistant special agent in charge of the counterintelligence, counterterrorism, intelligence, and crisis management programs.

In 2017, he returned to FBI Headquarters as the chief of the Eurasian Section, which manages the bureau’s operations countering Russian intelligence threats. Kohler was promoted to deputy assistant director in the Counterintelligence Division and managed multiple portfolios in 2018.

Kohler is a recipient of the Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service, the FBI Director’s Award for Outstanding Counterintelligence Investigation, and the Exceptional Achievement Medal from the Director of National Intelligence.

Before joining the FBI, Kohler managed engineering research for a private technology firm. He earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in ceramic engineering from Rutgers University.