I always suspected that Jewell’s situation was a case of art imitating life. Unfortunately, such a cluster… is not a one off. The Obama Justice Department instituted a similar comedy of errors with “Fast and Furious”. The more things change the more they stay the same.
The story takes place during the Atlanta Olympics of 1992. Jewell, a security guard discovered an abandoned back pack. It contained a bomb. Jewell helped to evacuate the heavy populated area and probably saved many lives.
He went from hero to goat overnight. The FBI and local media questioned Jewell’s motives. The investigation soon centered on Jewell. The theory was put forward that Jewell had built and planted the bomb. Jewell then discovered the bomb in order to get a “Hero Badge.” (The hero badge in this Blog title refers to the idiots in the FBI, not Jewell.)
I sneered at Jewell, at the time. I didn’t think he did it. From what I read about him I pegged him as a wannabe and a true believer. Every police agency has a few hanging around. They have a scanner, they can talk the talk and sometimes they can be helpful. They want to be cops but they are too fat, too stupid, or the mothers won’t let them. As a next best thing they populate security companies as security guards.
Jewell found the bomb. He validated his faith in himself. He should be a cop. There were Atlanta cops, Sheriff’s deputies, Georgia Patrol (state police) and Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) agents. They didn’t find the bomb. He did, a security guard. He was guileless. It wasn’t fair the wolves were at the door and he never had a chance.
In 1992 the concept of “criminal profiling” was still not widely known. Thomas Harris wrote, “Red Dragon.” In 1986 it was turned into a movie called “Manhunter.” By 1992 the concept of criminal profiling, if not the process, was reaching public awareness.
Profiling isn’t evidence. The process is designed to identify a particular type of offender based on the nature of the crime committed. Yeah, it is possible a fat wanna be cop, security guard would make a bomb. But Eric Rudolph or Theodore John Kaczynski, the Unabomber, were equally as likely. Rudolph was ultimately convicted of the Olympic bombing.
Fast forward to the Obama administration’s efforts to arm Mexican cartels in an operation called “Fast and Furious.” Fast and Furious was the bastardized duplication of an operation conducted in Tampa, Florida. The idea was to track the movement of guns to criminal organizations. The Tampa operation was limited in scope and had some success but was ultimately shut down.
What do the two operations have in common? My suspicion is dilettantes learned of the concept, profiling and tracking guns and decided bullshit and publicity can outstrip actual knowledge and experience. They set about applying concepts without understanding the process.
Look at Richard Jewell. Fat cop wanna be working as a security guard. The elite figured who would want to be a security guard? He must be frustrated. He would do anything up to and including planting a bomb. It doesn’t matter that thousands of individuals work as security guards, feed their families and lead productive lives.
The FBI fell into the same mindset. The profilers and real investigators knew it was a bad assessment. They had a choice tell the boss he is an idiot and grow to like South Dakota as the next duty station, or let the fat boy take the fall.
Why spend years learning the ins and outs of a process? Everything one needs to know was covered in a newspaper article.