Pierre Thomas and Benjamin Weiser
Reputed 'Manifesto' Recovered
Federal agents have recovered what they believe is a draft of the Unabomber "manifesto" from the remote Montana cabin of Theodore J. Kaczynski in what could be the critical piece of evidence tying him to a 17-year reign of terror, sources close to the case said yesterday.
The manifesto, a lengthy treatise railing against modern society and technology and explaining some of the bomber's rationale for the attacks, has long been considered a public confession by an unknown writer. "In order to get our message before the public with some chance of making a lasting impression, we've had to kill people," the author wrote in a 35,000-word rambling essay, published by The Washington Post last fall in cooperation with the New York Times.
The alleged recovery of the draft came in recent days as agents have continued to dissect Kaczynski's tiny cabin in one of the most exhaustive executions of a search warrant in recent memory. Agents have been at work there for nine days, hauling away loads of items to be carefully scrutinized by lab experts in Washington.
Agents, concerned about possible booby traps, have been going over the cabin inch by inch, X-raying boxes before they remove them. The removed items then are sorted, catalogued and sent to forensic technicians for analysis. The search was slowed considerably when authorities found a live bomb in the cabin. "They found a bomb, that's a good reason to go slow," one senior official said.
Though it is unclear exactly when the alleged draft manifesto was located, agents in recent days have been increasingly confident of their case against Kaczynski, who is being held in Montana on an explosives charge while authorities plan how to proceed.
Officials this week confirmed that names of some Unabomb victims -- and possible intended victims -- had been found in unspecified documents inside Kaczynski's cabin. Several West Coast forestry officials were informed this week by the FBI that their names had turned up in the cabin. Names of current and retired University of California-Berkeley professors and the name of a department at the school were found in handwritten notes in the cabin, according to university officials. The FBI has been informing those whose names have been found.
In June 1995, The Post and the Times received copies of the 56-page, single-spaced text, plus 11 pages of footnotes and other material. The writer promised to halt the deadly attacks if either paper ran his lengthy critique, which called for a worldwide revolution against modern society. The Unabomber said he would wait three months for a decision and if the papers opted not to publish, he would "start building our next bomb."
Should Kaczynski be charged, the manifesto will have provided the catalyst in the case. Last summer, Kaczynski's brother, David, after hearing reports about the treatise's contents, became suspicious and initiated his own nine-month private investigation. He contacted the FBI last January through an attorney, setting in motion an intense probe of Theodore Kaczynski that ended in his arrest last week at the cabin.
The increasing evidence against Kaczynski is "overwhelming," said one senior official involved in the case. Officials already have detailed a collection of chemicals and other materials found in the cabin that they believe could have been used in producing explosives. They also have said they found one partially constructed and one live bomb inside the residence.
Preliminary analysis on a third typewriter found in the cabin indicates a match with a letter written to the New York Times last year. However, officials said that further testing will be needed to make a positive match. Testing is still underway on two other manual typewriters taken from the site.
Officials say they have not yet decided whether to charge Kaczynski with murder in bombs that killed three and injured 23 others over 17 years. They say officials are pondering whether to bring charges against Kaczynski initially in Sacramento, the site of the last bombing in April 1995, or in New Jersey.
With New Jersey federal prosecutor Robert J. Cleary now in charge of the Justice Department's Unabomb team, attention is likely to quickly focus on the case in which he has been deeply involved: the December 1994 package explosion that killed advertising and public relations executive Thomas J. Mosser.
Cleary has been the New Jersey U.S. attorney's liaison to the Unabomber task force based in San Francisco since Mosser was killed in his North Caldwell, N.J., house by a package bomb that exploded in his kitchen while his family was getting ready to go buy a Christmas tree.
For prosecutors, Mosser's slaying offers a strong and carefully preserved evidence trail and a state in which it could bring a federal death penalty case. Unlike some other Unabomb attacks, in which victims appear to be random, Mosser's killer took credit for the slaying, spelling out his motive for picking the high-powered executive in an April 1995 letter to the New York Times.
Mosser, 50, spent a career at Burson-Marsteller, a New York public relations firm, then was promoted into a senior position at its parent company, Young & Rubicam Inc., one of the nation's biggest advertising agencies. The Unabomber wrote that Burson-Marstellar seemed to represent all that was wrong with corporate America: "We blew up Thomas Mosser last December because he was a Burston-Marsteller executive," the Unabomber wrote, misspelling the firm's name.
The Unabomber went on, criticizing Burson-Marsteller's "misdeeds" in helping Exxon Corp. "clean up its public image" after the Exxon Valdez oil spill and, more broadly, for "manipulating people's attitudes." In the lengthy manifesto published last fall in The Washington Post, the Unabomber ranted on about the evils of advertising and marketing, which he said had victimized "the average American" and "suckered him into buying a lot of junk that he doesn't need."
But Kaczynski's arrest has brought a palpable sense of relief to former colleagues and friends of Mosser, who were devastated by his loss and who remain tentative and cautious speaking to the press because they do not want undue attention brought to the firm and its employees.
"He was a guy who just symbolized integrity -- a very square shooter, a guy who to my knowledge had no known enemies," said Harold Burson, co-founder of the firm.
Although it is not known how the Unabomber picked out Mosser's name, the executive was listed in public relations directories that also provide the names of major firms' clients. And, just two weeks before Mosser's death, there was some media coverage, primarily in the trade press, of his latest promotion, to general manager of Young & Rubicam.
Burson-Marsteller, meanwhile, had been sharply criticized in the extremist environmental press for its representation of some companies. Articles had been printed in two fringe publications, "No Sweat News" and "Earth First!" (which calls itself "the radical environmental journal"), which purported to list companies represented by Burson-Marsteller that were involved in damaging the environment. The article blamed the public relations firm for trying to make the public believe that the environmental crisis was exaggerated.
It is not known whether Kaczynski saw that article, which included in its allegations that Burson-Marsteller was hired by Exxon "to counter the negative publicity from the Valdez oil spill."
Burson-Marsteller officials say that is untrue; that although the firm has advised Exxon in the past, it had no involvement with Exxon during the Valdez crisis. Afterward, Exxon did ask the firm to critique the way Exxon's officials had handled the case.
Weiser reported from New York and Thomas from Washington.