The Department of Homeland Security’s New HQ is an Abandoned Insane Asylum

The Center Building at St. Elizabeths, which once held an imprisoned Ezra Pound. Photo via Wikipedia.

Homeland Security operating without a real home (Los Angeles Times):

Five miles southeast of the gleaming Capitol dome, on a scenic bluff overlooking the confluence of the Potomac and Anacostia rivers, the future office of the secretary of Homeland Security sits boarded up and abandoned.

Four years ago, U.S. officials announced plans to renovate the dilapidated, castle-like structure —opened in 1855 as the Government Hospital for the Insane — to anchor Washington’s largest construction project since the Pentagon was built 70 years ago.

The goal was to unite on a single campus the 22 agencies that were stitched together to form the Department of Homeland Security after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

But the $3.4-billion headquarters project stalled as Congress tried to cut the federal deficit. Lawmakers debated this month whether the nation could afford such a massive home-improvement project, and the House has voted to eliminate the funding in next year’s budget.

As a result, Homeland Security employees remain scattered through more than 35 offices around Washington. Janet Napolitano, their boss, works from a former Navy radar facility that has all the comforts of a barracks. Plus, in traffic, she’s a good 40 minutes from the White House.

“They need to get out of there as soon as possible,” said Tom Ridge, who took over the former Navy compound in early 2003 after he was named the first Homeland Security chief.

In the early rush to get settled, Ridge recalls, one of his assistant secretaries emptied out a broom closet and stuck a desk in it.

“It’s hardly anything anyone can call palatial,” he growled.

DHS holds fast to St. Elizabeths HQ plan (Federal News Radio):

Funding gaps and construction delays aren’t swaying the Homeland Security Department from its goal of consolidating most of its Washington-based facilities on the campus of the former St. Elizabeth’s hospital.

“The reduction in the funding stream has impacted our original plans,” said DHS chief administrative officer Don Bathurst. Speaking of the future steps in the project, he said, “We’re going to try to bring those on as quickly as fiscally allowable.”

DHS’s various Washington-area headquarters are spread throughout 50 buildings. Congress has criticized the agency for its lack of integration.

“Bringing the component operation centers together in the DHS operations center will resolve deficiencies in operational management, which was noted in various lessons learned reports and Government Accountability Office reports after Hurricane Katrina,” Bathurst said during a hearing of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation.

Coast Guard vice admiral John Currier and General Services Administration Public Buildings Service commissioner Robert Peck also testified. The Coast Guard is the first division of DHS scheduled to move into the facility.

St. Elizabeth’s Hospital (Wikipedia):

After several decades in decline, the large campus could not be maintained. In 1987, hospital functions on the eastern campus were transferred from the United States Department of Health and Human Services to the District of Columbia government, with the federal government retaining ownership of the western campus. Several commercial redevelopment opportunities were proposed by the D.C. government and consultants, including relocating the University of the District of Columbia to the campus or developing office and retail space. However, the tremendous cost of bringing the facilities up to code (estimated at $50–$100 million) kept developers away.

With little interest in developing the site privately, the Federal Government stepped in. Control of the western campus—home of the oldest building on the campus, the Center Building—was transferred to the General Services Administration in 2004. The GSA improved security around the campus, shored up roofs, and covered the windows with plywood in an attempt to preserve the campus until a tenant could be found.

After three years of searching for an occupant, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on March 20, 2007 that it would spend approximately US$4.1 billion to move its headquarters and most of its Washington-based offices to a new 4,500,000-square-foot (418,000 m2) facility on the site, beginning with the United States Coast Guard in 2010. DHS, whose operations are scattered around dozens of buildings in the Washington, D.C. area, hopes to consolidate at least 60 of its facilities at St. Elizabeths and to save $64 million per year in rental costs. DHS also hopes to improve employee morale and unity by having a central location from which to operate.

The plans to locate DHS to St. Elizabeths have been met with criticism, however. Historic preservationists argue that the move will destroy dozens of historic buildings located on the campus and that other alternatives should be considered.Community activists have also expressed concern that the planned high-security facility will not interact with the surrounding community and do little to revitalize the economically depressed area.

A ceremonial groundbreaking for the DHS consolidated headquarters took place at St. Elizabeths on September 11, 2009. The event was attended by Senator Joseph Lieberman, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty, and acting GSA Administrator Paul Prouty.

40 comments for “The Department of Homeland Security’s New HQ is an Abandoned Insane Asylum

  1. AZ Patriot
    September 29, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    how fitting…”Homeland Insecurity” new office is an INSANE Asylum….you cant make this stuff up!!

    • robertsgt40
      August 29, 2012 at 7:48 pm

      How fitting. Now if they could just get congress and obama in there.

  2. Amicus Curiae
    August 26, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    :-) yeah classic:-) the insane go back to the asylum.
    they could save many billions by canning DHS, a quango and a total wste of taxpayers money.

  3. hope isn't hiring
    August 26, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Will male employees get a nice restroom office?

  4. August 26, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    I couldn’t think of a better place for them to set up shop! The 99% VS the 1% – A battle to be fought and won with truth and unity! The people have finally started to come together. You cannot convince me that tiny Iceland can handle the “Cabal” and WE cannot!
    Now is the time to join forces with those you would not normally consider. THEY win as long as they can keep us divided and focused on diversions like Left vs Right. Others have carried the load of exposing this corrupt activity for years. Now we the people NEED to come together and make it a major issue in the news and in this political cycle.
    JOIN US, this is YOUR cause too (Click the “LIKE” button and spread the word): http://www.facebook.com/BankAndPoliticianFinancialCorruption

    • Anonymous
      January 30, 2013 at 8:04 pm

      Do you really think the CIA needs you to be on facebook to watch you? Staying off facebook is good advice, if you’re not already on it. However, just because it is a treasure trove of easy information for them, doesn’t mean it can’t be utilized. We need to be able to connect with people, whether they are watching us or not.

  5. Aelfric
    August 26, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    @coreyG from Texas……and to demonstrate your “passion” to the “cause of the people”…..your FIRST mistake is to advise us to log onto facebook???? Facebook is a known CIA DATABASE, from which it is easy to get all kinds of detailed information on YOU. …..provided for….by you. So, for you to come on this site and pontificate about how appropriate it is for DHS to have been built on the site of a mental asylum may make you look “with it” and all “patriotic” , but then you couldn’t help yourself, huh? you had to go and mention Facebook? Fishin for info? or are you being paid for that “quota”? Well, I for one, know a troll when I see one….

  6. Charlotte
    August 26, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Seems appropriate somehow.

  7. Ella
    August 26, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    That’s the perfect place for crazy people .

  8. Second hand smoke
    August 26, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    4.1 billion just to move?Couldn’t we save more money giving them all plane tickets and letting them protect someone elses homeland?

  9. mike
    August 26, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    What better place to serve as an American Gulag for political dissidents, DHS can tourture and kill US Citizens with great zeal in such a place, almost custom made for the new American Cheka to do their filthy work. Remember the bolsheviks are now on American Soil and operating the American government.

  10. MORRIS KAPLAN
    August 26, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    ezra pound was imprisoned there!
    his last disciple, eustace mullins, researched many of pound’s
    insights about the workings of the criminal insane system of war
    that has plagued humans for so long. among his writings are;
    “the curse of cane’ and ‘secrets of the federal reserve’.
    video’s on youtube.
    p3

  11. Waler
    August 26, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    DHS/PENTAGON/Military-Industrial-Complex are a FAR greater enemy of FREEDOM and LIBERTY then AlQueada ever DREAMT of being. That Nazi-Dyke Napolitano leave America and take her BLUESTAPO with her, and AMERICA will be far better off.

  12. bonkers
    August 26, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    NURSE RATCHETT FOR FURHER!!!

    • R.Fenbarf
      August 27, 2012 at 10:30 am

      They are newagers just like the UN.Did you know the UN was founded by a bunch of nuts that used to channel ascended masters who wrote all the New Age Metaphysics books ?
      Eeny meeney Chili Beanie http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_gti-jfXFE

  13. Eileen Kuch
    August 26, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    Mike has it right on target with regard to DHS. This agency is nothing more than the USA version of the Cheka under Lenin.

    All these Bolsheviks should – or better yet – must be ousted from government and locked up either at Alcatraz, or some deserted island somewhere in the vast ocean, with NO means of communication with the outside world.

  14. August 27, 2012 at 2:14 am

    You probably wouldn’t believe me if I was to tell you they picked the place because of a hyper-dimensional portal.

    A sort of channeling place for controlled possession of some personnel designed to be possessed.

  15. Howard T. Lewis III
    August 27, 2012 at 2:33 am

    The new DHS headquarters is located in an ‘abandoned insane asylum’? Not yet.

  16. R.Fenbarf
    August 27, 2012 at 10:25 am

    The ghosts and spirits there should be great inspiration to them.Those places are usually haunted pretty good!
    They DHS can act out their paranoia in style too because now they are running the asylum!
    Nice place to do interrogations of all the suspected domestic insurgents too.BRAVO !

  17. ben dover
    August 27, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    well chosen!!!
    finally got home,
    where they belong!

  18. carrie silva
    August 27, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    Their very own Lubyanka! I’m sure the basement walls will muffle the screams of political prisoners being tortured.

  19. who
    August 29, 2012 at 3:30 am

    people complaining about facebook, this site has a presence on facebook but you don’t complain about that?

  20. RioSam
    December 3, 2012 at 5:03 am

    Well, the Feds get their own Lubyanka…They can pad the basement walls to muffle the sounds of torture coming from the political prisoners…

  21. Christi
    January 24, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    Good! May the souls of the many that were tortured in that place forever haunt and torment the souls who are about to work there day to day! Amen

  22. January 24, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    Well, now at least the two Bush presidents and Dick Cheney can call this place “Home” whenever they feel that urge to blow up some country or have nightmares of the crimes they committed.

  23. Paul Stewart
    February 1, 2013 at 4:32 am

    I can not see any need for DHS This country was doing alright before without it. The people in power were warned in advance and chose not to do anything. The Asylum needs them more than we do.

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