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FBI chief can't explain media leaks in Olympic bombing


Internal investigation under way

December 19, 1996
Web posted at: 12:30 p.m. EST

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- FBI Director Louis Freeh testified Thursday he does not yet know how information identifying security guard Richard Jewell as a suspect in the Centennial Olympic Park bombing last July was leaked to the news media.

In late October, Jewell was cleared by the Justice Department of any involvement in the bombing.

Saying he had "zero tolerance" for leaks, Freeh told the Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Government Information he was "mystified" that anyone in law enforcement would "disrespect the criminal justice process." (30 sec. /736K AIFF or WAV sound)icon

At least 500 people in 11 agencies -- including the FBI -- knew about the investigation of Jewell, he said.

He said the FBI was still conducting an internal investigation into how information that Jewell was a suspect was leaked to the news media. The subcommittee chairman, Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania, said he would not ask Freeh about specifics in the Atlanta case because of the ongoing internal probe.

Jewell did not testify, but Specter said the subcommittee hoped to hear from him at a future hearing.

Freeh said his "policy regarding unauthorized or intentional disclosure of investigation information is very, very clear. It's absolutely prohibited and the penalty can include dismissal as well as prosecution." (25 sec. /608K AIFF or WAV sound)icon

Citing a case of the news media acting responsibly when it learns of sensitive information, Freeh noted a decision by CBS News earlier this year. It withheld broadcast of information about a suspect in the Unabomber case until an arrest was being made.


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