Tysons Corner, VA

Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) have joined the call for answers in the shooting of a Tysons man by U.S. Park Police in 2017.

Bijan Ghaisar, a 25-year-old, was shot on Nov. 17, 2017 by two U.S. Park Police who fired into his Jeep Grand Cherokee. Three days after the shooting, the FBI took over the investigation, but there’s been virtually no update on the case.

“We write today to once again request an update on the status of the Bijan Ghaisar investigation,” Grassley and Warner said in a joint letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray. “The FBI has failed to provide information on this investigation, which has been ongoing since November 2017, to us, our colleagues, or the public. The FBI’s slow pace and lack of transparency are weakening the trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”

The letter notes that family members and the press have had to rely on Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for simple details like whether or not Ghaisar had a weapon when he was killed — which he did not, according to FOIA documents obtained by Ghaisar’s family.

The senators are not the first to call for answers. Last November, on the anniversary of the shooting, the McLean Citizens Association also issued a resolution demanding answers.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) also pushed for answers in 2018. The Grassley and Warner letter notes the FBI has previously responded that it would not discuss an active investigation.

Grassley and Warner also sent a joint letter to Dan Smith, the acting director of the National Park Service, with questions about the agency’s policies on the use of force.

The letters to the FBI and NPS demand an update from both organizations no later than July 2.

Image via Fairfax County Police Department

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Moments of cross-aisle praise are rare, but there was one in Tysons today (Friday).

Amid criticism of the state of national politics, in a speech at Fleming’s Steakhouse (1960 Chain Bridge Road), Sen. Mark Warner (D) took a moment to praise President Donald Trump for retaining funding for the Metro in his federal budget proposal.

“I was not pleased with President’s budget on a variety of items, but I was pleased — even though discretionary spending was cut — that it included $150 million for the Metro,” Warner said. “It’s very important that we retain that.”

Warner was in Tysons for the spring chairman’s luncheon with the Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce to oversee the installation of the new board for the organization.

In some remarks after the installation, Warner spoke on a range of topics, from Facebook to the potential decline and fall of American capitalism.

Warner said regulation has been slow to keep up with companies like Facebook and Google, saying that in the face of the Russian interference through social media in the American elections it was time to take a look at more regulation.

“Today, 60 percent of Americans get all their news from Facebook and Google,” said Warner. “I wonder whether we need to start thinking about these platform companies as media. The content that comes to us across these platforms can be used to spread an enormous amount of lies. Facebook and Google have as much power as Standard Oil did at the beginning of the [20th century].”

Warner also noted that the way the military funded will have to evolve to face 21st century threats. Warner, the ranking member of the Committee on Intelligence, said that China and Russia spend less on their militaries than the United States but are investing more heavily in hacking.

“I worry we’re buying too much 20th century stuff when most of the conflict in the 21st century will be in cybersecurity, disinformation, and space,” said Warner. “Our peers are equal in those domains.”

More broadly, Warner reiterated earlier comments that American capitalism would have to evolve or face extinction.

“I don’t think modern American capitalism is working for our people,” Warner said. “It doesn’t mean you throw out the system, but it means we have to have an honest debate over what the economy that works for everyone looks like… If we don’t find an economy that gives people a fair shot, we’re going to end up with unease and people who will give up on the system.”

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Morning Notes

Big Names Among Potential Galleria Tenants — “Tysons Galleria… is in advanced talks with Tiffany & Co., Apple Inc. and gourmet grocer Balducci’s, in addition to high-end movie theater chain iPic, to open in portions of the space, according to two sources with knowledge of the discussions.” [Washington Business Journal]

Possible Money Motivation in McLean Double Murder — “The newly unsealed search warrant reveals why Megan Hargan might have carried out the crime: Megan’s mother discovered someone had attempted to wire ‘large amounts’ of money from her bank account on the day before her slaying. Pamela Hargan notified her bank the transfer was fraudulent. On the day of the killings, a second transfer was initiated to send money to a title company that was handling the purchase of a home by Megan in West Virginia.” [Washington Post]

Huge Tysons Development Still Looking for Office Anchor — “The developer behind Scotts Run had courted Amazon and Apple in hopes of landing an anchor for its planned 8M SF Tysons development, but neither of those panned out. Cityline Partners now continues to search for a tenant to kick off construction on the project’s office component. Cityline is one of several developers with major Tysons office projects waiting in the wings, hoping to sign pre-leases before breaking ground.” [Bisnow]

FCPS Offering Sub Gigs for Furloughed Feds — “Fairfax County Public Schools, the largest school district in Virginia, is offering substitute teaching positions to federal employees furloughed during the government shutdown. The hiring event will take place Friday, Jan. 11, from 2 p.m.-4:30 p.m. at the FCPS Administration Center, 8115 Gatehouse Road, Falls Church.” [Patch]

Senators Press Administration on Tax Refunds — “Virginia Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-Va.) have sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asking how Virginia taxpayers will be affected by the government shutdown, which has left the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) short-staffed and potentially unprepared for the beginning of the 2019 tax-filing season.” [Fairfax Times]

McLean Foundation Sets Grant Deadline — “The McLean Community Foundation has set a deadline of Feb. 1 for non-profit organizations seeking to apply for its next round of grant funding. The foundation recently awarded nearly $67,000 in grants, including funding to McLean Little League and the Old Firehouse Teen Center, among others.” [InsideNova]

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