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The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution
November 1, 1996
Section: LOCAL OLYMPICS
Edition: The Atlanta Constitution
The Atlanta Journal
Hearings in Congress urged to look at park blast probe
Barr says he is concerned about way FBI handled case.
Kathy Scruggs And Ron Martz STAFF WRITER
Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.) said Thursday he will call for hearings on the FBI's handling of the Centennial Olympic Park bombing
investigation when Congress reconvenes in January.
Barr, a former federal prosecutor, said he has serious concerns about how the FBI has handled the probe, including the
interview of former security guard Richard Jewell and the analysis of evidence in the case.
Jewell's attorneys charge the FBI tried to trick their client into confessing to the July 27 bombing by asking him to participate
in a training film. In the middle of that interview Jewell was read his rights and quit cooperating, the attorneys said. Because
Rep. Henry Hyde, (R-Ill.), who is head of the House Judiciary Committee, has endorsed Barr's inquiry, it is likely he will
succeed in examining the entire investigation and FBI Director Louis Freeh's role in it.
"I am not convinced that they are dealing properly with the authority we've given them and the monies we've given them,"
Barr said. "I intend to hold a congressional hearing after the election." Barr is seeking re-election next week in Georgia's 7th
Congressional District, running against former Democratic State Rep. Charlie Watts.
ATF also queried
Barr initially questioned the investigation in Oct. 15 letters to Freeh and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Director
John W. Magaw.
Despite follow-up letters, Freeh has not responded. The Washington office of the FBI also refused to respond to the
newspaper's written questions about the investigation.
On Thursday, Magaw denied any problems, writing, "I am pleased to report to you that we are working closely with the FBI
on this matter."
Magaw noted that the FBI was responsible for all federal crimes during the Olympics, including explosions. So, "the FBI took
custody of evidence from this incident and assumed responsibility for the investigation."
Barr was left with two concerns. The first is to consider which agency should have control of technical aspects of bomb
investigations -crime scene and lab analysis.
The ATF is generally considered the leading law enforcement agency on matters of explosions and firearms.
The letter also "tells me that things are back on track," Barr said. "The question in my mind is if things weren't on track the
last three months, then what do we need to do about it legislatively?"
Barr also said that Freeh's announcement earlier this week that he has launched two internal investigations into the media
leak of Jewell's name and the manner in which he was interviewed will be examined in the hearings.
The internal investigations "can stop people from being focused on the one thing they are supposed to be doing and that is
solving this crime - gathering evidence, analyzing evidence and presenting the evidence to the prosecutor," Barr said.
"These are things that can pull agents off track.
William Hinshaw, retired FBI Special Agent in charge of the Atlanta office, said that Washington pressured him for an
internal investigation of leaks during the mail-bombing investigation involving Walter Leroy Moody, but that he refused to
conduct such a probe while the criminal investigation was in progress.
"We never went after the leak," Hinshaw said. "To me, it was closing the barn door after the horse went out. I felt it was
better to keep our eye on the main mission. So many people were involved. It was such a public event."
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Hyde has also asked for explanations from Freeh and Magaw, which he had not received Thursday. "When the chairman of
the judiciary says something like that to the FBI - if they don't listen, it's at their own peril," Barr said.
Photo: Mug shot of Bob Barr Photo: Mug shot of Louis Freeh
Copyright 1996 The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution