Theodore Kaczynski

Theodore Kaczynski, also known as the Unabomber, was arrested by Federal Bureau of Investigation officials in April 1996, after more than 18 years of evading capture.   Kaczynskis crime spree, notable for his use of home-made bombs, injured 23, and killed three, during the course of his anti-technology fervor.

The first bombing occurred outside of Chicago on the campus of Northwestern University in 1978.   Fortunately, the victims only suffered minor injuries.   From 1979-1982, there were six more bombings with varying degrees of injuries.   In 1985 Kaczynski sent a bomb to the offices of Boeing. It was spotted by workers, and defused by bomb experts.  (Fortune, 1995).

The first death from one of Kaczynskis bombs occurred when he disguised a bomb as wooden construction debris in the parking lot of a computer store in the city of Sacramento.   The stores owner, Hugh Scrutton, picked up the package to throw it away.   It exploded, and he died instantly.  (Fortune, 1995).

Since the materials Kaczynski used in making the bombs consisted of lamp cords, batteries, scrap wood and iron, it was hard to trace.  (Bruni, 1996).   Kaczynski, however, did leave his signature FC on each device.   The initials stood for Freedom Club. (Fortune, 1995).

The first real break in the case occurred during the 1987 bombing in the parking lot of a Salt Lake City computer store which maimed an employee.   A witness saw the man who deposited the bag that held the bomb.   Investigators were able to have a sketch of the man drawn from the womans memory.  (Bruni, 1996).

Investigators developed a profile of the bomber, and released the crude sketch with the information.   The man had a mustache, wore sunglasses, and a hooded sweatshirt.   He was in his late 20s, and had reddish blond hair.  The bomber did not hit again until 1993.   (Bruni, 1996).

A profile in 1991 portrayed the bomber as a white-man who was obsessive compulsive.   It suggested the man held many menial jobs over the course of the years, and moved around the country frequently.  (Bruni, 1996).

In 1993, Dr.  Charles Epstein, of Marin County, a geneticist at the University of California at San Francisco, attempted to open a padded envelope he received in the mail.  The envelope exploded, causing serious injuries to the doctor.   Shortly thereafter, Yale computer science Professor David Gelernter received a package in the mail, and received similar injuries after it exploded.   (Fortune, 1995).

As the bombings continued, Kaczynski graduated from the use of gunpowder mixtures, and match heads to high explosives triggered electronically.   Needless to say the new formula yielded little help to the investigators trying to isolate the culprit.  (Fortune, 1995).

One issue that hampered the case was managerial.   Three different government agencies worked on the case at the same time.   This meant that there were three sets of notes, three sets of interviews, three collections of evidence, etc.  Finally, with the support of the U.S.  Postal Inspection Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, it was decided that there should be just one task force on Kaczynski under the auspices of the FBI.  (Fortune, 1995).

Therefore, all the information from all agencies went to the FBI.   The amount of paperwork was enormous.   Sifting through 15 years of information proved daunting.   Finally, officials agreed that they were getting no where with the investigation.   There was just too much information, and trying to sort through it all was taking too much time.   With this in mind, the FBI decided to reinvestigate the bombings.   There were 14 different crime scenes in eight different states over the 15 year period of Unabomber activities.  A second sketch of the bomber also was drawn.   (Fortune, 1995).
Two bombings occurred in 1993, and Kaczynski mailed a letter to the offices of the New York Times.   Investigators saw the letter had a postmark of Sacramento.   Therefore, the FBI moved its field offices to San Francisco where it stationed 45 agents.   Also, on the writing, investigators noticed the words, Call Nathan R.   Wed.  7 p.m.  Investigators began studying this new lead.   That same year, the FBI established a toll-free number for tips regarding the bomber, and offered a 1 million reward for any information that led to his arrest.  (Bruni, 1996).   The FBI received more than 15,000 tips.   (Fortune, 1995).

In June of 1995, Kaczynski sent the New York Times and Washington Post a 35,000 word document titled, Industrial Society and Its Future.  Kaczynski gave the newspapers three months to publish what he termed a manifesto, or he would leave a bomb at an undisclosed location.   In September the Washington Post ran the document in its entirety.  In the piece, Kaczynski told of his dissatisfaction with the technological advances in the world today.   He said that as technology grew, humans were more like robots.   He said technology took away our freedom.   (Unabombers Manifesto, 1996).

Investigators discovered through Kaczynskis writings that he grew up in the Chicago area.   Therefore, they met with more than 50 teachers, who gathered at Niles North High School, asking questions and showing the sketch of the man they were looking for.   Investigators also sent Kaczynskis document to 75 college educators and scholars to see if anyone could identify the work.   (Tyson, 1995).

Kaczynski was a mathematician educated at Harvard.   It was at Harvard that he first developed the ideas about evil in society that led to his justification of his actions.   Kaczynski was considered an angry person by family since his junior high school days.   But it was at Harvard that he began to consider revenge against all those he felt were evil.   (Chase, 2000).

After graduating Harvard, Kaczynski came across a book by the French philosopher, Jacques Ellul, called The Technological Society.  The books main thesis was that man did not use technology as merely a tool, but as an end in itself.   The book claimed society served technology.   (Chase, 2000).

In 1998 Kaczynski said that he developed most of the ideas found in the book on his own.   But that when he read the book, Kaczynski said, I was delighted, because I thought here is someone who is saying what I have already been thinking. (Chase, 2000).

At the age of six months, Kaczynski was hospitalized.   During this period, his family was not allowed to touch or hold him.   When he came home from the hospital, he was withdrawn, and listless.   Throughout his childhood, he avoided contact with others as much as possible.   He was bored in high school, and administrators developed an accelerated program for him.   Therefore, he entered Harvard at age 16.   (Lacayo, 1996).

While at Harvard Kaczynski participated in a psychiatric research study.   Although the study was odd, there is no evidence that it had a negative effect on Kaczynskis personality.   (Margusee, 2003).

Upon graduation, Kaczynski took a teaching job at Berkeley.   However, his stint did not last long, and he began to spend more time at his cabin in the woods.  (Lacayo, 1996).   Kaczynskis brother David worked as supervisor of Foam Cutting Engineers.   He hired Theodore to work for him.   Soon, however, Ted began to date a female employee.   When she dumped him, he posted ugly limericks around the office.   David had no choice but to fire him.   In a follow-up letter, Ted Kaczynski said that he thought about hurting the woman, but changed his mind.   (Lacayo, 1996).

In the years that followed, Ted Kaczynski borrowed several thousand dollars from his brother, David.   The money was never paid back.   (Lacayo, 1996).   David Kaczynski began to be concerned about his brothers activities after learning that the Unabomber grew up in the Chicago area, and lived in Berkeley, and Salt Lake City.   David read the manifesto, and heard his brother, Ted, in the language.   (Lacayo, 1996).

David Kaczynski turned to a friend of his wife, Susan Swanson, a detective with an investigative office.   Ms.  Swanson went to Clint Van Zandt for help.   Van Zandt worked for a security consulting firm as a behavioral science specialist.   Swanson asked Van Zandt to compare the Unabombers manifesto to two of Ted Kaczynskis letters.   Van Zandt worked with a linguist and psychiatrist, and found a 60 percent probability that the letters and manifesto were written by the same person.   (Lacayo, 1996).

The letters were sent to a communications specialist who compared them to the manifesto.   He agreed with the previous finding, and stated there was an 80-90 percent probability that the same person wrote all three.  (Lacayo, 1996).   Washington attorneys were contacted, and they called the FBI.   David Kaczynski spoke with investigators at length regarding his concerns.   (Lacayo, 1996).

Kaczynski was arrested by the FBI on April 3, 1996 at his Montana cabin.   FBI investigators found that Kaczynskis cabin was more like a bomb lab.   They found tools, wire, bomb making supplies, diagrams of bombs, and even a live bomb under his cot.   (Curley, 1996).

During his trial, Kaczynski asked if he could represent himself as attorney.   The judge responded by hiring a psychiatrist to judge whether he was psychologically fit to take on that task.   The expert psychiatrist, Karen Bronkfroming, said Kaczynski had a predisposition to schizophrenia. During the course of the trial, the attorney for the defense asked two psychiatrists to provide testimony concerning Kaczynskis mental state.   Both doctors indicated that Kaczynski suffered from schizophrenia.   The judge in the case said that Kaczynski was capable of defending himself however, he did not permit him to do so.   (Chase, 2000).

In conclusion, Kaczynski remains in prison today.   In exchange for the government taking the death penalty off the table, Kaczynski plead guilty to 13 federal bombings.  May 4, 1998 he was sentenced to life in prison without the benefit of parole.  (Chase, 2000).  This case was the longest and most expensive investigation in the history of the FBI.  (Chase, 2000).


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