FBI Finds Likely Manifesto Copy in Suspect’s Cabin
FBI agents have found what appears to be the original copy of the Unabomber manifesto in the Montana cabin of suspect Theodore J. Kaczynski. The FBI crime laboratory has also tentatively linked a typewriter found in the cabin to evidence from several bomb scenes, federal sources confirmed Friday.
Investigators found the manuscript several days ago, but word of the discovery did not leak out until Friday. The manuscript and the typewriter comparison appear to be the “something big” that government sources had said earlier this week that they had found and that had given them great confidence that Kaczynski could be charged as the serial bomber who has carried on a campaign of terror for 17 years.
Last June and July, the Unabomber mailed carbon copies of the 62-page, single-spaced manifesto to the New York Times, Washington Post, Penthouse magazine and Tom Tyler, a UC Berkeley psychology professor. Tyler appears to have received his copy as something of an afterthought by the bomber. His only known connection to the case is that he had been quoted in a Bay Area newspaper commenting on the behavior of the serial killer.
The manuscript found in the cabin appears to have been the original of that carbon set, a source familiar with the investigation said.
Laboratory analysis of the typewriter--the last of three manual machines found in the former Berkeley math professor’s cabin during the search--preliminarily tied it to typed material recovered from bomb scenes as well as to the 35,000-word manifesto and to a letter sent to the New York Times demanding that the manifesto be published, the sources said.
The typed materials recovered from at least five bomb scenes included address labels, the sourcessaid.
Discovery of the evidence, confirmed by federal investigators, was first publicly disclosed by U.S. News & World Report in a summary released Friday of a story for the magazine’s Monday issue.
Before Kaczynski emerged as a suspect, investigators had said that the Unabomber, in keeping with his anti-technology philosophy, had typed out the 35,000-word manifesto on a manual typewriter using carbon paper to make his copies. His typographical errors, authorities noted, were not corrected in the carbon copies.
The copy sent to Tyler apparently came from the bottom of the stack and was barely legible in places. In a letter to Tyler accompanying the document, the Unabomber had apologized for the poor quality.
“We apologize for sending you such a poor carbon copy of our manuscript,” he wrote. “We can’t make copies at a public copy machine because people would get suspicious if they saw us handling our copies with gloves.”
The Unabomber referred to himself using plural pronouns and the name Freedom Club, implying that more than one person was involved in the bombings, but authorities have consistently discounted that, saying that the bomber acted alone.
When he sent out his manifesto, the Unabomber promised not to mail or place any more lethal bombs if either of the two newspapers printed the document. The newspapers jointly published the document in September in the Washington Post.
But when federal agents searched Kaczynski’s mountain cabin, they found a completed bomb ready to be mailed along with the copy of the manuscript.
Federal investigators are nearing the end of a painstaking search of Kaczynski’s 10-by-12-foot home near Lincoln, Mont. As FBI criminologists analyze material taken from the cabin, comparing it to evidence recovered from the scenes of the 16 explosions linked to the Unabomber, other law enforcement officials have been tracing Kaczynski’s biography, trying to determine his whereabouts during the years of the Unabomber campaign.
As part of that exploration, investigators have looked at a 1978 episode in which Kaczynski’s younger brother, David, fired him from a job at a Chicago-area factory where the brothers and their father worked. The firing appears to have taken place after an incident in which Theodore Kaczynski began harassing a female co-worker who seems to have rebuffed his overtures. The Unabomber’s series of attacks began in 1978, but the first of the bombings appears to have taken place before the firing.
Meanwhile, officials at Berkeley confirmed that members of the university’s bioengineering program were told Wednesday that the name of their group and of faculty members had been found on lists discovered in the cabin. As previously reported, the FBI has also alerted three Northwest timber industry officials that their names were found in the cabin.
Investigators have said that they are uncertain what significance to attach to these lists and do not have firm evidence that the papers were lists of potential victims. But government officials warned both the industry officials and the academics to take care in opening parcels on the off chance that a bomb might already have been mailed.
The list in the cabin had 70 to 80 names of individuals or entities, federal officials said. Among them were the bioengineering program, a Berkeley professor and a graduate student in another department, according to Jesus Mena, a spokesman for the university. The bioengineering program, set up in 1984 as a joint effort of Berkeley and UC San Francisco, is an interdisciplinary effort to study connections between engineering and human biology. It has 118 faculty members at the two institutions. Individuals connected with both Berkeley and UCSF have been victims of Unabomber attacks.
The program’s faculty “were very concerned, to say the least,” Mena said.
Sources close to the case also confirmed that two sealed federal indictments had been returned in the 1980s in Salt Lake City for bombings there in 1981 and 1987 against a “John Doe” also known as “FC”--the initials the Unabomber attached to some of his bombs and that he identified in his manifesto as standing for his “Freedom Club.”
Those indictments are likely to be dismissed and replaced with charges against Kaczynski if the evidence supports it, a government source said. The indictments were handed up shortly after each incident. In each case, prosecutors and investigators sought the indictments even though there was no suspect at the time because they wanted to establish a record of their evidence.
The Feb. 20, 1987, bombing in Salt Lake City was the only time the Unabomber was believed to have been seen while placing a bomb. A computer store worker saw him place something under a car, and the object was later found to be a bomb. The employee’s description led to a sketch of the suspect wearing a hooded sweatshirt and aviator sunglasses. Items closely resembling them were found by agents during the search of Kaczynski’s cabin.
Although Justice Department officials insist that no decisions have been made on where and whether to charge Kaczynski, it is expected that they will seek charges against him in both New Jersey and Sacramento, where the three fatal Unabomber attacks took place, and possibly other locations as well.
Kaczynski, 53, is being held without bond in Helena, Mont., on charges of possessing an unregistered explosive device--a partially completed pipe bomb that agents found at the outset of their search of his cabin. A federal grand jury in Montana is scheduled to meet on Wednesday and to begin considering evidence on that charge, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.
The fatal bombings linked to the Unabomber in Sacramento a year ago and in New Jersey in December 1994 carry possible death sentences.
The search of the cabin and surrounding acreage has been underway since April 3. The search has been painfully slow because of the time-consuming thoroughness associated with searching for tiny fragments--some microscopic--of bomb-making materials and by the need to avoid possible booby traps.
Ostrow reported from Washington and Paddock from Mendocino, Calif. Times staff writers Judy Pasternak in Chicago and Eleanor Randolph in New York contributed to this story.
Start your day right
Sign up for Essential California for the L.A. Times biggest news, features and recommendations in your inbox six days a week.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.