Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Unabomber He's `Whipped Up' by Publicity, Says Criminologist

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Unabomber He's `Whipped Up' by Publicity, Says Criminologist

Article excerpt

IS THE UNABOMBER finally cracking up?

For 17 years he has been shrewd, meticulous and methodical, striking months and sometimes even years apart, leaving tantalizingly few tracks for law enforcement to follow.

But since the Oklahoma City bombing, the mysterious serial bomber has sent a flurry of letters, packages and a 35,000-word political manifesto out into the world.

"He is whipped up with all the publicity; he's on a roll. He's at the very peak of his career," said Michael Rustigan, a criminologist at San Francisco State University.

"Look what one little note to the San Francisco Chronicle did for him," said Rustigan, referring to the bomber's letter last week threatening to blow up a Los Angeles airliner by Tuesday, the Fourth of July. "His note generated tons of publicity. He's on a high from that. He was in the minor leagues then; now he's a national guy."

Despite a second note to The New York Times calling the first threat a prank, security remained tight Sunday at Los Angeles International Airport, where 130,000 passengers were expected to travel through the holiday.

"So far, it's fairly slow," said Lt. Howard Whitehead of the airport police. "We are still deploying the extra people for it because of the situation."

The Unabomber, so code-named by the FBI because many of his early victims were connected to universities and airlines, has sent 16 package bombs since 1978, killing three people and wounding 23.

For now, sending words seems to be satisfying the Unabomber.

On Friday, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, received a package from the Unabomber that contained documents similar to the ones received by the Times and The Washington Post last week, FBI spokesman George Grotz said. "What's encouraging is that he has decided to communicate via the written word as opposed to planning any more bombs," Grotz said. "We find that a very encouraging and positive step."

Grotz wouldn't identify the professor or say more about the package, which was turned over to the FBI. Last week, the Times and the Post received offers from the Unabomber to stop the killings if they published his manifesto. …

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