Some members of the 9/11 Truth movement may be sorely disappointed now that a major bête noire of the events of September 11, 2001, is one of four finalists to build the new FBI building and associated campus. The current FBI building on Pennsylvania Avenue in downtown Washington is no longer suitable for the bureau due to a host of problems, including concrete falling from its facade and an often-times failing and putrid-smelling sewage system.
Larry Silverstein, the chairman of Silverstein Properties and who Donald Trump called “a great guy, a good guy . . . a friend of mine,” is a finalist for the new headquarters, which may be built in either Virginia or Maryland. Virginia is seen as an odds-on favorite for the new FBI headquarters. Although Maryland and Virginia both voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, Trump lost the Old Dominion by a razor-thin margin. Also, Mrs. Clinton’s running mate, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, is up for re-election in 2018. If Virginia were able to land the FBI headquarters, with all the associated construction and other jobs, it would be a feather in the cap for any GOP challenger for Kaine’s Senate seat.
Silverstein was the lessee of the World Trade Center who ordered Building 7 of the complex to be “pulled” during the afternoon of September 11. Building 7 received little damage from either the impact of the aircraft on the twin towers or the subsequent collapse of the towers. The obvious implosion of Building 7 has led many professional architects and engineers to believe that the building was demolished on purpose, which convinced many Americans that 9/11 was an “inside job.” Silverstein and members of his family cautiously avoided being anywhere near the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11. Just six weeks prior to 9/11, Silverstein received a 99-year lease for the World Trade Center, the largest real estate deal in the history of New York and one of the largest privatization deals ever consummated by any government. Silverstein ultimately received some $5 billion in insurance payments as a result of the 9/11 attack. The cost of Silverstein’s initial lease was $3.2 billion.
In 2005, Trump briefly considered building two office towers on the site of the World Trade Center, the development rights for which are owned by Silverstein.
According to The Washington Post, Trump toyed with the idea of bidding on the FBI project prior to his running for president. However, Trump still has some skin in the game because Steven Roth, his friend and business partner in Manhattan real estate, is also one of the four finalists for the FBI project. Roth is the founder of Vornado Realty Trust, a partner of the Charles E. Smith realty empire, which is a major real estate developer and commercial property owner in the Washington, DC area. Roth’s Vornado is also a business partner of Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and White House adviser.
If Vornado were to win the contract for the new FBI building, it would also acquire the rights to the prime real estate where the current FBI headquarters is located. The FBI building is diagonally opposite from the Trump International Hotel, located in the Old Post Office Pavilion. The Trump family having such prominent twin real estate interests on Pennsylvania Avenue between the U.S. Capitol and the White House would certainly raise issues of nepotism and Trump financially benefiting from serving as president.
Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.
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Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).