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S P E C I A L Olympic Bombing - One Year Later

Reno to Jewell: 'I regret the leak'

Richard Jewell hearing July 31, 1997
Web posted at: 12:13 p.m. EDT (1613 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Attorney General Janet Reno expressed personal regret Thursday over a leak to the news media that cited Richard Jewell as a suspect in the Centennial Olympic Park bombing and led to months of intense public scrutiny of his life.

"I'm very sorry it happened," Reno said during her weekly news conference. "I think we owe him an apology. I regret the leak."

There has been no information made public as to who leaked Jewell's name.

The attorney general said she had not sent Jewell a formal written apology, but would be happy to talk with him.

Attorney General, Janet Reno

Asked what she would say to Jewell if they met face-to-face, Reno said, "I would tell him I'm sorry."

Jewell discovered the bomb shortly before it exploded in Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta on July 27, 1996. The blast killed one person and injured 100. After being hailed a hero, he quickly became a lead suspect.

Following three months of intense FBI and media scrutiny, the FBI sent Jewell a letter last fall clearing him of any involvement in the blast.

On Wednesday, Jewell testified before a House subcommittee in which he called for an independent probe into methods used by FBI agents during their investigation of him.

Since he was exonerated, Jewell has maintained that the FBI and the Atlanta newspapers that first identified him as a suspect owe him a public apology.


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