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The U.S. Postal Inspection Service

Unabomber

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A number of the postal inspectors who worked the case were at the scene of Kaczynski’s arrest, from left to right: Robin Shipman, John Burkhardt, Tom Berthiume, Brad Reeves, Gary Bridgewater, and Paul Wilhelmus.

From 1978 to 1996, a man named Ted Kaczynski mounted a campaign of terror through a series of bombs sent in the mail to university professors and airline and advertising executives. The bomber used the mail to deliver 9 of his 16 known devices. Postal inspectors and agents from the FBI and the ATF created the UNABOM Task Force (a combination of the words “university” and “airline bomber”). The press created the name Unabomber from that original task force designation.

In 1995, while still on the loose, and through anonymous letters, the Unabomber demanded the publication of what became known as the “Unabomber Manifesto” in exchange for an end to the violence. The New York Times and Washington Post published the diatribe against technological advancement on September 19, 1995. David Kaczynski recognized his brother Ted’s writing style and notified authorities. Agents surrounded a tiny cabin in Montana, arresting Kaczynski on April 3, 1996. Among the items found in the cabin was a completed bomb ready to be mailed.

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Members of the UNABOM* Task Force placed these cuffs on Kaczynski when they captured him in a shack near Lincoln, Montana, on April 3, 1996. Members of the Task Force presented these cuffs to Postal Inspector Anthony Muljat in recognition of his many years of tireless work on the case.
Postal Inspector Paul Wilhelmus talks about interrogating unabomber

Postal Inspector Paul Wilhelmus talks about interrogating unabomber Ted Kaczynski after the multi-year, multi-agency investigation ended with the capture of Kaczynski at his Montana cabin.

Paul Wilhelmus:  I’m Paul Wilhelmus, I was a postal inspector.  I’m part of the Unabomber task force.  I was assigned to the interview team. 

The ruse had been previously planned, it was two FBI agents and a Forest Service agent were going to approach Ted’s cabin, that they were doing a property survey and they might have to cut down a tree that could be on his property.  The thought was that would be enough to get him out of the cabin.  So when they approached the cabin, knocked on the door, Ted appeared, explained the situation, went to go back into the cabin and that’s when they grabbed him and so pulled him out of the cabin without any further incident.  I just kept thinking, “This is the guy we’ve been looking for, all these people, all these hours, all these time?”  That was my introduction to Ted Kaczynski.

So while the search was being initiated at his cabin, we started to interview him.  His comment was, “I’ll talk about anything but the case.”  And I thought, “Wow where did that come from?”  And it was like, right then, you knew this was the guy.  Ted had a certain arrogant air about him and during that time I always got the impression that he thought he was the smartest person in the room, smarter than all the rest of us in the room put together.  But I kept thinking, too, he was the one in there in handcuffs and we were not.  We were free to leave and he was not.

*UNABOM is FBI code name for "UNiversity and Airline BOMber". (FBI 100 - The Unabomber)

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