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- 22/01/2020 Printer Friendly Archive
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- The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution
- November 1, 1996
- Section: LOCAL OLYMPICS
- Edition: The Atlanta Constitution
- The Atlanta Journal
- Page: C3
- 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?"
- Media leak
- 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.
- Earlier probe
- 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
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