Last year, on the 20th anniversary of 9/11, FBI director Christopher Wray testified that “preventing terrorist attacks remains our top priority,” and that “the greatest terrorist threat we face here in the U.S. is from what are, in effect, lone actors,” and “lone domestic violent extremists.” And according to Wray, “we remain focused on our ultimate mission: protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution.”
Americans might wonder how the FBI protected the American people against lone actor Ted Kaczynski, the so-called “Unabomber,” now 80. Last year Kaczynski was moved to a federal prison medical facility in North Carolina. Back in the 1970s, during the Carter Era, the Harvard grad and math professor launched a new career as a domestic terrorist.
“Theodore Kaczynski came to our attention in 1978 with the explosion of his first, primitive homemade bomb at a Chicago university,” explains the FBI, then led by William Webster, a federal judge who never served as an FBI agent. On May 25, 1978, a package intended for Northwestern University professor Buckley Crist, exploded and injured a security officer.
On May 9, 1979, a bomb dressed up as a present injured Northwestern University graduate student John Harris. On June 10, 1980, a bomb encased in a book injured United Airlines president Percy Wood. The targeting of universities and airlines led to the “Unabomber” designation and the FBI task force grew to more than 150 full-time investigators and analysts. Their combined efforts with the ATF and postal inspectors “proved of little use.”
On October 8, 1981, at the University of Utah, a bomb wrapped in brown paper was safely detonated without injury. The following year, on May 5, a bomb sent to Patrick Fischer, head of the computer science department at Vanderbilt University, injured secretary Janet Smith.
On July 2, 1982, a package bomb left in Cory Hall at UC Berkeley exploded and injured electrical engineering professor Diogenes Angelakos. At the same hall on May 15, 1985, a disguised bomb injured engineering student John Hauser. On June 13, 1985, a package sent to Boeing’s fabrication division was safely detonated but rendered no clues to the bomber.
That same year, on November 15, a Unabomber package bomb injured University of Michigan professor James McConnell and his assistant Nicklaus Suino. On December 11, 1985, Hugh Scrutton perished in the blast from a bomb left in the parking lot of his computer store in Sacramento, California. Two years later, on February 20, 1987, he targeted a computer store in Salt Lake City, severely injuring store owner Gary Wright.
A store employee spotted Kaczynski leaving the bomb in the parking lot, but the first composite sketch of the Unabomber led nowhere. Despite the massive FBI task force, the domestic terrorist remained undiscovered and undeterred.
On June 23, 1993, a mail bomb exploded in the residence of University of California geneticist Charles Joseph Epstein, acclaimed for work on Down syndrome. The blast severed fingers and inflicted severe internal injuries. The next day, Kaczynski struck again.
His mail bomb targeted Yale computer scientist David Gelernter, who suffered severe wounds to his abdomen, chest, face and hands. As the New York Times noted, authorities said the bombs “have become progressively more complex over the years and they tend to be meticulously constructed of common materials like fishing line, string, nails and wrapping paper.”
New FBI boss William Sessions urged caution with strange packages, but the FBI task force had no leads of any substance. On December 19, 1994, a package bomb killed New Jersey advertising executive Thomas Mosser. Kaczynski had chalked up another murder, but he wasn’t done.
On April 24, his package mailed to the California Forestry Association in Sacramento blew out door and windows, and claimed the life of lobbyist Gilbert B. Murray. This marked the third murder, and 17 years that Kaczynski had eluded the FBI. The Unabomber was feeling invincible and wrote a 35,000 word essay about the ills of modern society that was published in the Washington Post.
Ted’s brother, David Kaczynksi, spotted a phrase “cool-headed logicians,” he had never heard anybody else use, and the manifesto bore similarities to Ted’s angry letters to his parents. Months later, David Kaczynski contacted the FBI, and only then were agents able to track the bomber to a cabin in Montana. He was arrested on April 3, 1996, tried and sentenced to life with no possibility of parole.
Had “lone actor” domestic terrorist Ted Kaczynski not sent the manifesto, the bombings would surely have continued, extending an FBI losing streak of nearly two decades. It was hardly the bureau’s only failure.
Terrorists of al Qaeda were in the United States learning how to fly planes but not land them. The FBI knew about the flight training but failed to prevent the attacks of September 11, 2001, with 3,000 dead, massive property damage, and misery extending to this day. Twenty years later, Christopher Wray did not apologize for what was surely the FBI’s greatest failure, and those that followed.
Back in 2009, the FBI picked up on communications between U.S. Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan and al-Qaeda terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki. As Lessons from Fort Hood notes, the Washington office of the FBI did not assess Hasan “to be involved in terrorist activities.” So no surprise search of his residence or sudden arrest in the pre-dawn hours. And as it turned out, Hasan was indeed involved in terrorist activities.
On November 5, 2009, at Fort Hood, Texas, Hasan murdered 13 unarmed American soldiers, including Pvt. Francheska Velez, who was pregnant, and wounded more than 30 others. It was as though the bureau had known the deadly plans of Ted Kaczynski, and done nothing to prevent his deadly bombing attacks.
Two years before the Boston Marathon bombings, a DOJ report explains, Tamerlan Tsarnaev “came to the attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.” The FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force in Boston conducted an assessment to determine whether Tamerlan posed a threat to national security and “closed the assessment three months later having found no link or ‘nexus’ to terrorism.”
On April 15, 2013, the report recalls, “two pressure cooker bombs placed near the finish line of the Boston Marathon detonated within seconds of each other, killing three and injuring more than two hundred people.” And it was local “law enforcement officials,” not the FBI, who “identified brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as primary suspects in the bombings.”
In 2015, the FBI failed to prevent Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik from murdering 14 people at a holiday party in San Bernardino, California. As in Boston, the bureau played no role in the takedown of the terrorists, accomplished by San Bernardino police with no loss of innocent life.
In 2016 the FBI failed to prevent the Islamic State supporter Omar Mateen from murdering 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Such deadly negligence is partly due to official government policy.
The composite character president David Garrow described in Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama refused to recognize radical Islamic terrorism. Nidal Hasan’s mass murder, for example, was only “workplace violence,” not even gun violence.
As David Gelernter and the other Unabomber victims understand, the FBI does not protect the American people. The victims of 9/11, Fort Hood, Boston, San Bernardino and Orlando made the same discovery.
The bureau claims to stand for “fidelity, bravery and integrity,” but the agents who display the most bravery are the whistleblowers, who face retaliation from FBI bosses. The FBI shows little integrity but in a strange way the fidelity claim still applies. For all but the willfully blind the Federal Bureau of Investigation is now the Gestapo and KGB of the Biden Junta, a repressive, partisan force incompatible with a constitutional republic.