The FBI’s Forgotten Crimes Against Richard Jewell
A new movie about Richard Jewell is reminding Americans of one of the forgotten travesties of the 1990s. When he died in 2007 at age 44, his New York Times obituary was headlined, “Richard Jewell, Hero of Atlanta Attack, Dies.” But his heroism was recognized only after the FBI and the media sought to destroy him.
On July 27, 1996, a pipe bomb went off at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, where the world’s athletes and media were gathered for the Olympic games. The FBI decided that 33-year-old security guard Richard Jewell, who had found the bomb and helped clear the area and minimize fatalities, had also planted the bomb. FBI agents lured Jewell over to their Atlanta office and asked him to help them make a training film about detecting bombs. The ruse allowed the agents to question Jewell extensively without reading him a Miranda warning — without alerting him that anything he said could be used against him. As Investor’s Business Daily noted, “Jewell was the bureau’s top suspect, a fact that was leaked to the press in time for cameras to catch agents poring over Jewell’s home.” FBI leaks led to 88 days of hell for Jewell, who saw his life and reputation dragged in the gutter day after day. The FBI did nothing to curb the media harassment of Jewell long after it had recognized that he was innocent.
A Justice Department investigation concluded that the training-film scam violated Jewell’s constitutional rights. But in 1997 Senate testimony, FBI chief Louis Freeh denied that Jewell’s rights were violated because he did not incriminate himself. Who knew that only guilty citizens have constitutional rights? Freeh did tell the Senate committee that he had instructed FBI agents “not to use deceptive ploys in getting people to waive their constitutional rights.” His order was merely aspirational and did not prevent a tsunami of FBI entrapment and other schemes, including the bogus briefing on Russia that FBI agents gave the Trump campaign, as the Inspector General report revealed in December.
As a result of the Jewell debacle, two FBI agents were censured and one was suspended for five days without pay. But as the Washington Times noted, “No similar disciplinary action was recommended against senior FBI officials in Washington who oversaw the probe and were actively involved in the interrogation, including Mr. Freeh, who took part in the hour-long interview, even suggesting a question.” The Jewell debacle should have been no surprise, because the FBI Academy explicitly taught agents that subjects of investigations “have forfeited their right to the truth.”
Freeh admitted in congressional testimony in 1997, “We are potentially the most dangerous agency in the country if we are not scrutinized carefully.” But the vast majority of m
Article from LewRockwell