Federal investigators, acknowledging that they have no viable suspects in a series of university faculty bombings, revealed a new clue Wednesday and offered a $1-million reward for information that will help them catch and convict those responsible.
The clue is a telephone call reminder believed to have been written by the bomber around the time of the latest mail bombings in June: "Call Nathan R--Wed 7 PM."
FBI Director Louis J. Freeh said that "Nathan R" may be innocently associated with the culprit and urged him or others with knowledge to call a toll-free number (1-800-701-BOMB).
Freeh appeared with Ronald K. Noble, assistant Treasury secretary for enforcement, and the heads of the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Bureau and the chief postal inspector. The agencies formed a task force last June to crack the 14 bombings that have killed one person and injured 23 others since 1978.
George Clow, the FBI inspector who heads the Unabomb task force--so named because incidents have occurred at universities and on an airliner--declined to explain how the note was unearthed on grounds that it could interfere with the investigation.
But other sources indicated that the telephone reminder was somehow linked to a letter sent to the New York Times in June discussing the bombings and including the initials "FC," which have also been engraved in the bombs that have survived the blasts. The letter was postmarked after the packages containing the bombs were sent but before they exploded.
The letter described its author as "an anarchist group calling ourselves FC" and promised "information about our goals at some future time." Clow said that information has not been provided, leading investigators to fear that the bomber will strike again.
Noble, who recently took a leave of absence from New York University School of Law, described "the apprehension faculty members and students throughout our country feel about the random bombs that have struck campuses in California, Michigan, Tennessee, Illinois and Connecticut."
Although he declined to discuss other leads investigators are pursuing, Clow released a psychological profile of the "unabomber" drawn up by ATF and FBI experts.
The profile, described by Clow as "a best guess," described the culprit as a white male loner in his late 40s or early 50s, probably an obsessive-compulsive person who has difficulties forming personal relationships. The bomber, according to the profile, is neat and rigid, with a macabre sense of humor. He may appear to be a "nice guy" and not apparently predisposed to violence.
Investigators also depicted the individual as needlessly buffing and polishing for many hours the parts he used in assembling the bombs.
The profile saw the likely suspect as trained or educated in explosives, electronics and woodworking and knowledgeable about the areas where the bombs have been planted or mailed. They include San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Tiburon and Sacramento in California; Chicago and Evanston in Illinois; Salt Lake City; Nashville; Auburn, Wash.; Ann Arbor, Mich., and New Haven, Conn.
The only known sighting of a suspect took place in Salt Lake City in 1987 when a witness spotted a man placing a bomb behind a computer store. He was described as a white male with a ruddy complexion and blond to red hair. A composite sketch was drawn but produced no results and now is thought to be of limited value because six years have elapsed, task force officials said.
Clow would not discuss theories the investigators have developed for the six-year gap that separated the first 12 bombings from the two in June. But he said investigators are exploring the possibility that the bomber was imprisoned or otherwise out of circulation during those years.