The Moment the Unabomber’s Identity Was Discovered

The story of the Unabomber, the elusive criminal who targeted universities, airlines and computer stores with his homemade bombs, has fascinated the American public for many years. The Discovery Channel’s gripping new series, “Manhunt: UNABOMBER” takes us inside the long hunt for and dramatic capture of the Unabomber. The story is brought to life on screen with the help of several artifacts that are housed in the Newseum’s “Inside Today’s FBI” exhibit, including the Unabomber’s cabin and objects related to the FBI’s investigation.

The Unabomber eluded the FBI for 17 years, despite an investigation that spanned eight states and involved 500 agents. The turning point came in 1995 when the suspect mailed a 35,000-word anti-technology treatise to The New York Times and The Washington Post, vowing he would “desist from terrorism” if it was published. The FBI urged newspapers to comply, hoping that someone would recognize the author from his writing. After much debate, the Post printed it and the Times shared the costs.

After the bomber’s brother read the manifesto, his tip to the FBI made Theodore Kaczynski the prime suspect, leading FBI agents to a cabin in the Montana wilderness. Kaczynski was arrested there April 3, 1996, finally bringing an end to the Unabomber’s reign of terror. He is serving eight life sentences in federal prison without the possibility of parole.

In the above video of our January 2016 “Inside Media” program, the Unabomber’s brother, David Kaczynski, talks about the moment he realized the Unabomber’s true identity.

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