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Brother of Unabomber Suspect Had Hired Private Investigator

By Serge F. Kovaleski and Pierre Thomas
The Washington Post

The younger brother of the man who federal authorities believe is the so-called Unabomber conducted his own investigation for several months before going to the FBI after growing suspicious that his sibling was the elusive killer, a lawyer for the family said Monday.

In what has been described as an anguished move, David Kaczynski, 49, sought the assistance of a Chicago private investigator and longtime family friend who, along with a former FBI behavioral science expert, analyzed the writings, personality and travel habits of suspect Theodore John Kaczynski, 53.

A Washington lawyer was brought onto the case at David Kaczynski's request as evidence mounted against his brother. The lawyer eventually contacted authorities and gave them the first viable suspect since the Unabomber began his brand of terror nearly 18 years ago, killing three people and injuring 23 others.

"This is a very loving family," explained Anthony P. Bisceglie, the lawyer who ultimately put David Kaczynski in contact with the FBI. "I think David wanted very much to believe that his brother was not involved, I think he still would like to believe that I think he is somewhat in shock, The family is going through a grieving process."

Theodore Kaczynski, who remains in a special cell in Helena, Mont., reading newspapers and books on ancient history, has had no contact with his family since he was taken into custody Wednesday. But Bisceglie said family members, who have given him financial support over the years, would go to see him if he expressed any interest in seeing them.

Bisceglie, a corporate lawyer, said that neither he nor David Kaczynski knew when they first went to the FBI that a $1 million reward was being offered for any tip that led to the Unabomber's capture. "Money was absolutely not involved," he said. "David's sincere desire was to make sure no further lives were lost."

David Kaczynski, who has been in seclusion in Schenectady, N.Y., where he works at a youth shelter, did not attend Monday's news conference. Bisceglie, who has worked with him since January, read a statement which he said was written by the family: "Our hearts are with Ted. Our deep sympathies go out to the victims and their families. We will not be speaking with anyone from the media now or in the future."

Bisceglie, a corporate lawyer, described the family's odyssey from confidential discussions with a private investigator to sensitive negotiations with the FBI in which they realized they could be turning over a loved one, possibly to face charges punishable by the death penalty.

Late last summer, an uneasy feeling began to grip David Kaczynski. Two letters he had received from reclusive Theodore, who was living in an isolated Montana shack, included names of places he had visited and peculiar words and phrases that seemed similar to the Unabomber's strident declamations.

The uneasiness escalated soon after the Unabomber's "manifesto" was published in September in The Washington Post and New York Times. "There were similarities in ideology, phraseology and the spelling of certain words," Bisceglie said. David Kacynzski had been left with "considerable unease" that his brother might be somehow connected to the elusive killer, Bisceglie said. So, in October, David Kaczynski contacted Chicago private investigator Susan Swanson, 49, of the Washington-based Investigative Group International. She was a childhood friend of David Kaczynski's wife, Linda, from Evergreen Park, Ill.

In December, Swanson took a collection of Theodore Kacyznski's letters and writings - including older works he had told his brother he hoped to one day publish - and sought the assistance of Clint Van Zant, a former FBI behavioral science expert from Fredericksburg, Va., who is currently a security consultant.

Van Zandt had no idea who wrote the letters or who made them available to Swanson. He developed two independent teams, one with a psychiatrist and a language expert, and another with two communications experts. The teams had two goals - compare the letters with the Unabomber's manifesto and develop profiles of the writers.

He and the first team felt there was "at least a 60 percent chance that it was the same author," said Van Zandt in an interview. "We felt much stronger about the probability, but I wanted more letters to draw further conclusions. The second team felt even stronger, from the communication aspect, that they were the product of the same author. There were similarities as far as grammar and sentence structure, and theme."