Unabomber News History

Copyright 1996 The Atlanta Constitution

The Atlanta Journal and Constitution

April 11, 1996, Thursday, CONSTITUTION EDITION


LENGTH: 570 words

HEADLINE: Judge refuses to unseal warrant for search in Unabomb case


DATELINE: Helena, Mont.


A federal judge refused to unseal a search warrant Wednesday for Unabomber suspect Theodore Kaczynski's Montana cabin, and he also provided the first on-the-record confirmation that "explosive devices" were found there.

U.S. District Judge Charles Lovell rejected a motion by several news organizations, saying he had agreed with a federal request to extend the search warrant through Monday.

"There were explosive devices and components which have necessitated very thorough examination by X-ray equipment," the judge said. "The presence of these devices caused some delay in the execution of the warrant and the completion of the search."

Although a federal affidavit had described a partly constructed bomb, and anonymous sources have told reporters that one completed bomb was found as well, Lovell's remark was the first official confirmation.

The New York Times Co., the Denver Post Corp. and NBC had asked the judge to open the file on the warrant, arguing that there is no risk that evidence will be lost or witnesses influenced by making such information public.

The judge said he will consider opening the file at "either the conclusion of the search or the return of a grand jury indictment, whichever comes first."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bernard Hubley said there is no First Amendment right of access to search warrant materials prior to indictment, and he argued that releasing the information would hamper the investigation.

Kaczynski, a 53-year-old former mathematics professor, has been charged with possessing bomb components found in the cabin but not with any of the 16 Unabomber attacks, which over 18 years killed three people and injured 23 in nine states. In other developments:

-Federal agents searching the cabin found aviator sunglasses and a sweatshirt similar to those seen by the only known witness to a Unabomber attack, newspapers in Chicago and San Francisco reported Wednesday. The Chicago Tribune and the San Francisco Examiner, citing an unidentified law enforcement official, said the shirt and glasses were found Tuesday.

The newspapers also said Kaczynski, who had no telephone, devised a mail code with his family to enable him to recognize important letters.

-The FBI is warning certain possible Unabomber targets to remain wary of suspicious packages, after a bomb was found wrapped and ready for mailing at the cabin, NBC News reported Tuesday night.

The Unabomber had promised to stop all attacks if either The New York Times or The Washington Post published his 35,000-word manifesto attacking modern technology. The papers complied, but the discovery of the wrapped bomb in Kaczynski's cabin led authorities to wonder whether more attacks were imminent, NBC said.

-An eyewitness who gave authorities their only physical description of the elusive bomber is unlikely to be able to positively identify Kaczynski - if he is the same man - unless his beard is shaved before he is put in a lineup, a Salt Lake City police investigator who has worked on the case for nine years.

Officer Kyle Jones, the department's Unabomb Task Group case manager, said he has seen two photographs of Kaczynski since the Lincoln, Mont., recluse was arrested and believes he is a "plausible look-alike," based on his interviews of the only eyewitness. But Jones said in an interview that, without seeing Kaczynski cleanshaven, he could not be certain.