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In July 2000, special counsel John C. Danforth, who headed the Davidian investigation, said it was “puzzling” that FBI officials withheld information from the Justice Department concerning the bureau’s use of pyrotechnics because none of the information showed any criminal misconduct.

Mr. Danforth, a former three-term Republican senator from Missouri, told a Senate Judiciary subcommittee his investigation would continue to determine why the information was not turned over. He said the failure to do so was “disastrous” and had “shaken” the public’s confidence in its government. He said that lack of confidence had resulted in his appointment and in an investigation that cost taxpayers at least $12 million.

Mr. Danforth said his 10-month investigation concluded that government agents did not start the Waco fire, did not shoot at the Davidians, did not improperly use the U.S. military and did not engage in a conspiracy or cover-up. He said the Branch Davidians started the fire and spread fuel throughout the complex.

He also said there was no evidence that Miss Reno, Mr. Sessions or Mr. Freeh “in anyway misled anybody intentionally.” However, he said, questions remained as to why the FBI did not disclose for six years that three rounds of pyrotechnic tear gas had been fired into the Davidian compound.

“The fact that any pyrotechnics were used was not disclosed, and the opposite was told to various people, including members of the Congress,” he said. “And so the issue is, why were they not told? Why was this something that was withheld?”

Atlanta Olympics

During the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Richard Jewell became the FBI’s key suspect when a pipe bomb exploded, killing one woman and injuring more than 100 others. A cameraman also died of a heart attack while running to cover the incident.

Mr. Jewell, working as a security guard, discovered the bomb, alerted police and helped evacuate the area before it exploded. Initially labeled a hero, he later was identified as a suspect.

Three days after the July 27, 1996, blast, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the FBI was treating him as a possible suspect, based largely on a “lone bomber” criminal profile.

The media focused on Mr. Jewell for the next several weeks, portraying him as a failed law enforcement officer who planted the bomb so he could discover it and be labeled a hero.

In October 1996, U.S. Attorney Kent Alexander sent Mr. Jewell a letter saying he had been cleared “based on the evidence developed to date.”

Nine months later, Miss Reno expressed regret over what she described as a leak by the FBI to the news media that led to the widespread presumption of Mr. Jewell’s guilt. “I’m very sorry it happened. I think we owe him an apology. I regret the leak,” she said.

At the same time, Mr. Freeh was telling a Senate Judiciary subcommittee that Mr. Jewell’s constitutional rights were not violated during an hour-long interview a year earlier “because he didn’t say anything” to incriminate himself, but had he done so, the failure to advise him of his rights would have led to the suppression of any information the agents might have obtained.

“He didn’t say anything to inculpate himself, and he immediately called his lawyer, and his lawyer told him to leave, and he left. And the agents facilitated that conversation,” Mr. Freeh said at the time.

Mr. Freeh ordered that Mr. Jewell be advised of his rights after the questioning began, but Michael Shaheen, head of the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility, said the agents maintained the pretense that the interview was being videotaped as a training tool and “presented the Miranda warnings in such a manner that a reasonable person could have thought the warnings were only part of the framework for the training video.”

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