From 1978 to 1995, Ted Kaczynski sent bombs through the mail to targeted victims, killing three people and injuring 23 others over the years spanning his attacks. Though he was named the “Unabomber” by FBI investigators (short for University and Airline Bomber) and called himself “Freedom Club” in letters sent to the press, law enforcement knew very little about who they were trying to pursue, despite him being the target of the largest and most expensive FBI investigation in U.S. history.
The FBI had little to show for their investigation until 1995, when Kaczynski sent copies of his anti-technology manifesto to various news outlets. An accompanying letter promised that if it was printed verbatim by a major newspaper he would stop his bombing campaign. The Department of Justice urged the media to print the document and on September 19th, 1995, the Washington Post and the New York Times published the manifesto. David Kaczynski and his wife recognized the ideas and writing style as being similar to David’s estranged brother Ted’s and alerted the FBI.
On April 3rd, 1996, the FBI executed a search warrant on Ted Kaczynski’s remote Montana cabin. They found explosives, bomb components, an original typed copy of the manifesto, and a fully constructed bomb that was ready to be mailed. Kaczynski was arrested and sentenced to eight life sentences without the possibility of parole. He is currently housed in the Administrative Maximum Facility in Florence, Colorado, the only supermax prison in the U.S.
In 2006, a court ordered that all the items seized in the 1996 arrest of Kaczynski, including the cabin itself, be auctioned off with the proceeds going to the victims of his bombing campaign. The auction raised $232,000 and Kaczynski’s cabin was obtained by the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
The cabin is currently displayed alongside the exhibit “Inside Today’s FBI,” which also includes artifacts from the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.
Know Before You Go
The Newseum is open every day, barring major holidays. The cabin is on the bottom floor, in the "Inside Today's FBI" exhibit. Be warned that unlike many of the museums in Washington, D.C., the Newseum is not part of the Smithsonian Institute and is not free.