The FBI is facing increased backlash from Republicans on Capitol Hill as new evidence emerges that suggests political bias on the part of bureau leaders up to and including Director Christopher Wray.
Although the FBI director denied the FBI had become politicized under his watch, such reassurances did little to assuage the concerns of his harshest congressional critics.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH), for example, sent a letter earlier this week to the House Appropriations Committee that called for the FBI’s headquarters to be relocated from D.C.
The bureau has already announced its intentions to move into the suburbs surrounding the nation’s capital, but Jordan wants to see a more substantial change — using facilities in Huntsville, Alabama, as the agency’s new base — in order to reduce political influence within the ranks.
Existing facilities affiliated with the Redstone Arsenal facility in Huntsville have been used by the FBI for years, and the bureau’s footprint in the region has only become larger over time.
“The Committee remains concerned about the politicization of federal law enforcement power emanating from FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C.,” The Ohio Republican wrote. “The centralization of FBI operations in the National Capital 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 wrote that he wants to use his chamber’s constitutional appropriations powers to force the FBI’s hand.
FBI headquarters in Alabama 'a great idea that should be looked into': Rep. Max Miller pic.twitter.com/G7nNWQdhZo
— Mornings with Maria (@MorningsMaria) July 12, 2023
“None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to build a new FBI headquarters,” he explained. “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. The operational plan should also consider the existing resources and infrastructure available at the FBI’s Redstone Arsenal Campus in Huntsville, AL.”
Citing the fact that the FBI “has had a presence at Redstone Arsenal … for more than 50 years” and more than 1,000 employees are currently stationed there, even the FBI has admitted that its “state-of-the-art facilities present new opportunities to build our capabilities, create new partnerships, further our mission, and support our vision of becoming the FBI’s innovation and technology center of excellence.”