Below are some of the most recent headlines out of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Plans to Move FBI Headquarters Halted
The General Service Administration, along with the FBI, have decided to scrap plans to build a new FBI headquarters because of funding gaps. The GSA initially asked Congress for $1.4 billion for the project in FY2017, and only $523 million was appropriated, leaving an $882 million funding gap.
The funding gap made it too risky to pursue the project because it could make the government vulnerable to cost escalations. Further, it would potentially reduce the value of the FBI’s current property, the J. Edgar Hoover building. The GSA had planned to trade the building into a developer for additional funding.
“The cancellation of the project doesn’t lessen the need for a new FBI headquarters. GSA and FBI will continue to work together to address the space requirements of the FBI,” GSA said.
A few Senators/Representatives oppose the move saying it could endanger national security. “This is a decision that will have a major impact on the security of our country. The core missions of the FBI are being compromised by the decision made by the Trump administration today. It puts our homeland security at greater risk, and our national security at greater risk,” Maryland Senator Ben Cardin said.
FBI Director James Comey is Fired
President Trump made a shocking announcement in May by firing Director James Comey. The Trump administration attributed his dismissal to the handling of the investigation into Hillary Clintons’ email server, however, some suggest his firing was because he was getting too close to the White House with the probe into Russian ties.
Law enforcement sources said that Comey learned of his firing from TV, as he was addressing the FBI workforce in Los Angeles.
A signed letter from Trump informed Comey he was “hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately” and that he reached the conclusion Comey was “not able to effectively lead the Bureau”. Also in the letter was, “It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission. I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.”
Comey’s term wasn’t due to end until 2023. FBI directors’ tenure is a decade long to shield them from being drawn into politics, however, the position is subject to dismissal at the pleasure of the President.
FBI Arrested NSA Contractor for Allegedly Leaking Classified Information
Back in June, a federal contractor, Reality Winner, who had Top Secret clearance, was charged with “removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet”. Prosecutors said that when confronted with the allegations, Winner admitted to intentionally leaking the classified information.
An internal audit revealed she was one of six people who printed the document but the only one who had email contact with the news outlet.
“Releasing classified material without authorization threatens our nations’ security and undermines public faith in government. People who are trusted with classified information and pledge to protect it must be held accountable when they violate that obligation,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said.
Winner faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.