Unabomber Objects to Newseum's Exhibit

Ted Kaczynski's cabin was provided by the FBI for the
Ted Kaczynski's cabin was provided by the FBI for the "G-Men and Journalists" exhibit. (By James P. Blair -- Newseum)
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By Jacqueline Trescott
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Ted Kaczynski, the convicted "Unabomber," is upset that his Montana cabin, where he was eventually captured, is part of a display at the Newseum.

In a handwritten letter to a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Kaczynski said he objected to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's loan of the 10-by-12-foot cabin as part of a large exhibition that looks at the FBI's first 100 years.

Kaczynski, who is imprisoned in a federal facility in Florence, Colo., said he learned of the cabin's use when he saw it in an advertisement for the Newseum in The Washington Post. This is not the first time the bomber and the newspaper have intersected. In 1995 The Post published his 35,000-word manifesto in a special section and shared the cost with the New York Times. When Kaczynski's brother read the published manifesto, he realized the bomber might be his brother and told the FBI his identity and whereabouts.

"I recently received a page from the Washington Post, June 19, 2008, page A9. This comprises a full-page, full-color advertisement that features my cabin, which is being exhibited publicly at something called a 'Newseum,' " Kaczynski wrote, using careful printing. "Since the advertisement states that the cabin is 'FROM FBI VAULT,' it is clear that the government is responsible for the public exhibition of the cabin. This has obvious relevance to the victims' objection to publicity connected with the Unabom case."

The letter was published yesterday on Thesmokinggun.com.

The Newseum immediately released the news about the protest, but officials said they are not making any changes to "G-Men and Journalists: Top News Stories of the FBI's First Century." The exhibition opened in June and is on display for a year.

"The cabin is one of 200 artifacts that were offered to us through the FBI. The Unabomber is an interesting case of the combative, sometimes cooperative relationship of the press with the FBI," said Susan Bennett, the museum's vice president for marketing and deputy director. The Newseum, a museum about the history of news-gathering, opened in April on Pennsylvania Avenue NW.

"The cabin had a definite media hook. Since the artifact was provided by the FBI and we think it is a dramatic way of retelling the story to visitors, we intend to keep it as part of the exhibit," Bennett said.

The section about Kaczynski is called "A Mad Bomber and His Manifesto" and details how the FBI used 500 agents over 17 years to search for him. His homemade bombs killed three people and injured 23 others from 1978 to 1995. He was arrested in 1996 and was sentenced to life in prison.

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