White House Construction Fuels Bunker Speculation

Elizabeth Field

Recent construction occurring at the White House is fueling conspiracy theories and speculation about the possibility of a new bunker being built underground. This construction work marks the first time in over a decade that dirt has been raised, making underground pipes visible at the famous residence. While many are reporting this is due to an expansion of the White House’s underground bunker, the current administration maintains that it is simple utility upgrades.

The General Services Administration says this White House utilities upgrade project began in May 2009 includes routine maintenance upgrades such as “replacing aging electrical, cooling, heating, and fire alarm equipment.” According to the GSA, current construction crews will eventually shift over to the north lawn near the East Wing and start digging there as well. The grounds are expected to be restored to their original state.

However, Washington news correspondent Ronald Kessler has other ideas. “Well, you know, they do have to excavate dirt, they can’t hide that. But what they’re doing is they’re putting out this cover story that it’s just moving utilities around and that sort of thing. They had the same cover story when they did a similar bunker at the Vice President’s residence, the Naval Observatory. They said it was just utilities. In fact, it was a top secret bunker to shield the Vice President in the event of a major attack.”

The White House’s underground bunker, known as the Situation Room, was recently renovated and expanded to over 5,000 square feet in 2007. Also renovated was the nuclear bomb shelter below the East Wing, where Vice President Richard B. Cheney was famously taken the morning of September 11, 2001.

“For the moment, let’s say we’re not buying the official, nothing-to-see-here story the White House is dishing about the gaping hole being ripped into the lawn outside the Oval Office,” writes Washing Post reporter Ronald Davenport.