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Reno knew of 'concerns' in Jewell investigation

October 31, 1996
Web posted at: 11:00 p.m. EST

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Attorney General Janet Reno said Thursday she had learned in late September of "concerns" about the FBI's questioning of former Olympic Park bombing suspect Richard Jewell and promptly called FBI Director Louis Freeh to ask about it.

But Reno told reporters she could not recall whether that was before or after September 27 -- which is when Freeh launched an internal investigation.


Following wide public criticism, Freeh publicly acknowledged two days ago that he had ordered the inquiry a month earlier "to determine the propriety of the manner in which the FBI questioned Mr. Jewell."

Freeh's announcement followed complaints by Jewell's lawyers that during questioning the FBI tried to trick Jewell into waiving his Miranda rights to have an attorney present.

Jewell's attorneys say two agents told Jewell they wanted him to help them make an FBI training film and suggested he sign the waiver of his rights in the mock training video.

Georgetown University's Paul Rothstein says that kind of trickery is unacceptable. "(It) goes beyond the pale and begins to entrench on constitutional rights, his right to a lawyer, his right to remain silent."


Did the agents cross the line in the bombing case? The FBI internal probe will decide that.

Former FBI agent William Hinshaw concedes that the agency is far from perfect, but believes the investigation will deliver justice. "People there strive for perfection and they are very intolerant of people who stray over the lines."

Reno refused to offer any opinions about the FBI's handling of the Olympic bombing investigation because of the ongoing FBI inquiry.

"It would not be appropriate to comment while those investigations are under way." But she added, "If there are any questions raised, then we try to pursue them to make sure that we are held accountable, that if something wrong was done we know who did it and try to take appropriate action".


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