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USA: MAN CLEARED OF ATLANTA BOMBING WANTS APOLOGY FROM FBI

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Published on Jul 21, 2015

English/Nat

The Atlanta security guard who was eventually cleared as the chief suspect in the 1996 bombing of the Olympic Games has taken his campaign for an apology from the F-B-I to the U-S Congress.

An angry Richard Jewell called on the House of Representatives subcommittee hearing for an independent probe of the F-B-I's investigation into him as a suspect in the fatal bombing.

Surrounded by cameras and his three lawyers, Jewell said neither the F-B-I nor the U-S Justice Department could be trusted to find the truth.

Jewell testified before the House Judiciary Crime Subcommittee, exactly one year after he was publicly identified as the F-B-I's prime suspect in the bombing at Centennial Olympic Park.

The former security guard discovered the bomb before it exploded in the Atlanta park on July 27, 1996.

Initially hailed as a hero, he quickly became the F-B-I's prime suspect and was interrogated by agents, who pretended they wanted him to participate in a video about responding to bomb scenes.

Jewell had a sympathetic audience at the hearing, with lawmakers alternately apologising to him for his ordeal and blasting the F-B-I for its handling of the case.

SOUNDBITE:
"But if anyone is justified in being bitter and angry it is you sir because you were recklessly yanked around and yanked around from pillar to post, but I think we're all embarrassed about it and I don't know how we make... what sort of redress we give you."
SUPER CAPTION: Howard Coble, Republican, North Carolina

Jewell attacked the recently released U-S Justice Department report as being wildly inaccurate.

SOUNDBITE:
"I submit to you that the Justice Department cannot be trusted to investigate itself because that report is also a lie. It is filled with false statements, half truths and gross distortions of the truth. Reading it reminded me of reading the F-B-I search warrant affidavits against me."
SUPER CAPTION: Richard Jewell, 1996 Olympic Security Guard

He appealed for the House committee to launch an independent inquiry into the actions of the F-B-I and the Justice Department.

SOUNDBITE:
"I am also here to ask you to commit yourselves and the resources of this committee into a legitimate investigation into the very disturbing questions raised by the F-B-I investigation into me. Unanswered questions that will remain unanswered unless an objective third party investigates the F-B-I and the Justice Department's conduct. The first unanswered question is simply why? Not only did the F-B-I accuse the wrong man, its agents in Atlanta and officials in Washington actively participated in publicly humiliating me and privately violating my constitutional rights. The media followed the F-B-I's lead."
SUPER CAPTION: Richard Jewell, 1996 Olympic Security Guard

The F-B-I's Assistant Director of Criminal Investigations, Richard Bryant, said he regretted the leaks to the media.

Bryant said the leaks had not just damaged both Jewell's reputation, but the investigation itself.

SOUNDBITE:
"With regard to Richard Jewell, I deeply regret that his name was leaked to the media. This not only damaged Mr Jewell and his reputation, but it caused the F-B-I substantial damage to its investigation. On July 30th 1996, he was one of several suspects the F-B-I was looking at. The concern that the F-B-I conspired with the media is without merit. Mr Jewell has suffered because of this leak and so has the F-B-I."
SUPER CAPTION: Richard Bryant, Assistant Director FBI Criminal Investigations

Three months after the bombing, the F-B-I sent Jewell a letter clearing him of any involvement in the blast, which killed one and injured 111 others.

But he is battling for the apology he never received.



You can license this story through AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/metadata/you...
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