Slice of history on view in Unabomber's cabin
Museum recounts FBI, news links
WASHINGTON - The tiny Montana cabin where the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, hid now stands a few blocks from the Washington headquarters of the FBI, which spent 17 years searching for him.
The 10-by-12-foot cabin is on public display for the first time in a new exhibition, "G-Men and Journalists: Top News Stories of the FBI's First Century," which opens today at the Newseum, a museum about the news.
When FBI agents found Kaczynski, they also found a live bomb in the cabin. Over nearly two decades, his homemade bombs killed three people and injured 23 others. Visitors can look inside the mostly bare cabin's front door and envision the Unabomber sleeping against the wall.
"You can still see the outline, we think, of his body from the soot and smoke that built up from the wood-burning stove," said Cathy Trost, a Newseum official.
The cabin was stored in an FBI evidence facility after Kaczynski's bombing spree from 1978 to 1995. Kaczynski is serving a life sentence with no possibility of parole.
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The exhibit features stories and artifacts from other memorable FBI investigations, including the Branch Davidian siege in Waco, Texas, the Oklahoma City bombing two years later, and, more recently, the 2002 Washington-area sniper shootings. It includes a replica of the car trunk used by John Allen Muhammad and teenage accomplice Lee Boyd Malvo in the shooting spree that left 10 people dead.
"This is a great example of how there was confrontation between the media and the FBI," Bennett said. When a reporter got a tip on the suspect's license plate number, the FBI did not want it revealed for fear it would cause the suspects to ditch the car and flee.
Newseum curators retained editorial control of the exhibit, though many of the artifacts are on loan, Bennett said.
"We told them we're not going to include just the good stories of the press either," she said, noting a section on how newsman Walter Winchell traded favors with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.