Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski wrote a letter to a federal appeals court complaining about a museum exhibit of the tiny cabin where he plotted an 18-year bombing spree. Kaczynski, who is serving a life sentence with no possibility of parole, says the display at the Newseum in Washington runs counter to his victims' wish to limit further publicity about the case.
The 10-foot by 12-foot cabin is the largest of approximately 200 artifacts in the "G-Men and Journalists: Top News Stories of the FBI's First Century" exhibit, which opened in June. Other items include John Dillinger's death mask, Patricia Hearst's coat and the electric chair in which convicted Lindbergh baby kidnapper Bruno Hauptmann was executed.
Kaczynski said in the three-page, handwritten letter to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco that he learned his cabin was at the Newseum from a June 19 newspaper ad in the Washington Post.
"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," he wrote in the letter, dated July 15 and stamped as received by the court on July 28.
"I don't think I need to say anything further," he added. "The Court can draw its own conclusions."
No comment yet from FBI, victims
Susan Bennett, vice president and deputy director of the Newseum, said the exhibition is aimed at exploring "sometimes cooperative, sometimes combative" relationships between the news and law enforcement.
"I think what's interesting is, after all these years, that Ted Kaczynski would be concerned about the exhibit's impact on his victims," Bennett said.
The FBI did not immediately comment. Attempts to reach Kaczynski's victims were unsuccessful Tuesday.
The weather-beaten cabin was stored in an FBI evidence facility after Kaczynski's bombing spree from 1978 to 1995 that killed three people and injured 23 others. The Harvard-trained mathematician railed against the effects of advanced technology and led authorities on the nation's longest and costliest manhunt before his brother tipped off law enforcement in 1996.
Kaczynski was captured at the Lincoln, Mont., cabin in April 1996. The government found what prosecutors said was the typewriter used to produce the Unabomber manifesto and several drafts of the treatise. The manifesto, which was published by The Washington Post, is also on display at the Newseum.
Kaczynski pleaded guilty in 1998, and is housed in a maximum security prison in Colorado.
The government labeled him the Unabomber because some of his attacks were directed at university scholars.
The Smoking Gun Web site first posted Kaczynski's letter to the court on Tuesday.
Kaczynski has been battling in federal court in northern California over the auction of his journals and other correspondence.