Unabomber News History

Copyright 1995 The Chronicle Publishing Co.

The San Francisco Chronicle



LENGTH: 915 words

HEADLINE: Unabomber's 2nd Letter Released Mocking note sent to victim at Yale

BYLINE: Pamela Burdman, Robert B. Gunnison, Chronicle Sta


Federal agents yesterday released a second letter written by the mysterious Unabomber and said 100 additional agents have been deployed to follow hundreds of leads that have poured in since a Sacramento timber industry lobbyist was killed by a bomb on Monday.

''We're going to put all of our investigative efforts into bringing this guy to justice,'' said Ed Gleba, a spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, one of the agencies participating in the UNABOM task force.

''Whatever help we need, we are going to get.''

This is not the first time authorities have stepped up efforts to crack the case that has stumped investigators for 17 years. In December, after a package bomb killed advertising executive Thomas Mosser at his New Jersey home, the FBI assigned additional investigators to the case and appealed to the public to come forward with tips.

But with the appearance of four letters sent by the self-professed anarchist last week, agents are more confident than ever that they will catch him, said Jim R. Freeman, FBI chief for San Francisco and head of the task force tracking the bomber.

In the latest letter, sent to one of his previous victims, the serial bomber lashes out at computers and high-tech professionals, and hints that there may be more letters to come. He mocks the victim, Yale University computer scientist David Gelernter, for falling prey to a bomb sent in June 1993 and vents his frustration at people with college degrees. The blast left Gelernter blind in one eye, deaf in one ear, and tore off part of his right hand.

''People with advanced degrees aren't as smart as they think they are,'' he wrote. ''If you'd had any brains you would have realized that there are a lot of people out there who resent bitterly the way techno-nerds like you are changing the world and you wouldn't have been dumb enough to open an unexpected package from an unknown source.''

The letter complains about the role of computers in invading privacy and destroying the environment. It ends by challenging a passage in Gelernter's book ''Mirror Worlds,'' which states that technological development is inevitable: ''We do not believe that progress and growth are inevitable,'' the letter says. ''We'll have more to say about that later.''

The letter to Gelernter was one of four postmarked in Oakland and mailed last Thursday, but unlike the others, it carried a return address of FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., said Jim Freeman, chief of the FBI's San Francisco office.

In one of the letters, written to the New York Times and published yesterday, the killer said he would continue the bombings until he could publish an anti-technological treatise in a national publication. Freeman said the other two letters, which were not released, were sent to people outside the Bay Area who were previously unconnected with the investigation.

Authorities said they are confident that the bomber wrote the letters because they contain a nine-digit code used by him in the past. It never has been publicized.

Although the writer of the letters claims to represent the ''terrorist group FC,'' investigators are convinced that the UNABOM suspect, so named because his earliest targets worked for universities and airlines, is acting alone.

The explosion that killed California Forestry Association lobbyist Gilbert Murray on Monday marked the 16th time the UNABOM suspect has struck and the third fatality, authorities said. The blasts have injured 23 other people. Investigators say at least half of the attacks are linked to Northern California.

Freeman said he has assigned 100 local FBI agents to the case to supplement the work of the 30- member task force. Fifty other agents will be flown in from other parts of the country over the next few days so that some of the newly assigned San Francisco agents can resume other duties.

The computer capacities devoted to the case ''exceed any law enforcement computer case support in the country,'' Freeman said.

''We're looking for a piece of luck, that tip from the public.''

In the letter to the Times the bomber said he is weary of ''searching the sierras (sic) for a place isolated enough to test a bomb.''

That, said Freeman, ''tells me there is a possibility of witnesses.''

Among other leads being investigated is a message left on the answering machine at the Sacramento office of the Association of California Insurance Companies, a lobbying group.

A man who said, ''I'm the Unabomber, and I just called to say 'Hi,' '' left the message on Sunday, one day before the explosion in Sacramento.

The insurance group's phone number, however, differs by only one digit from that of the Sacramento County sheriff's department, and the group often receives calls intended for the sheriff's office.

Tom Griffin, spokesman for the FBI, said agents picked up the tape yesterday and are seeing whether the call can be traced.

Environmentalists said they had no clue as to the bomber's identity.

''I haven't the slightest idea,'' said Earth First organizer Andy Caffrey. ''We've been picking our brains, because they definitely are using our language.''

Caffrey said he has videotaped numerous Earth First meetings, but does not recognize the face in a sketch released by the FBI.

The California Forestry Association announced that it has established a Gil Murray Memorial Trust Fund on behalf of his widow and children.