Copyright 1995 Daily News, L.P.
Daily News (New York)
April 27, 1995, Thursday
SECTION: News Pg. 26
LENGTH: 529 words
HEADLINE: WEIRD CALL - AND THEN UNABOMB
BYLINE: By AL BAKER in Sacramento, Calif. and LAURIE C. MERRILL in New York
A caller professing to be the Unabomber left a bizarre voice message at a Sacramento office hours before his latest mail bomb killed a timber industry lobbyist.
"Hi. I'm the Unabomber, and I just called to say hi," the caller said in a deep, gravelly voice on a secretary's line at the Association of California Insurance Companies.
Reports of the odd message came as the FBI released a taunting letter the Unabomber sent to the Yale University computer science professor he severely injured in a June 1993 bombing.
It also came the day The New York Times published a letter described by the FBI as an "extortion demand" in which the Unabomber threatens to build more bombs unless a book-length article he is writing is published by a major periodical.
The odd phone message FBI agents were not convinced it was really from the Unabomber, because it would be the first he'd left was called in Sunday and heard by a secretary Monday at the insurance building.
If it was the Unabomber, speculated insurance association spokesman Bill Packer, he may have misdialed. The Sacramento County sheriff's office phone number is one digit from the secretary's.
In his letter to Yale Prof. David Gelernter, the Unabomber who has killed three and injured 23 in a 17-year reign of terror seems clearly resentful of Gelernter's advanced degree.
"People with advanced degrees aren't as smart as they think," the letter said. "If you had any brains you would have realized that there are a lot of people out there who resent bitterly the way techno-nerds like you are changing the world, and you wouldn't have been dumb enough to open an unexpected package from an unknown source."
The letter was one of four sent from Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, the day after the Oklahoma City blast. One went to The Times and two to people unconnected to the probe, FBI agents said.
The latest bomb, the most powerful to date, also was mailed Thursday from Oakland. The return address on the Gelernter letter was FBI headquarters, Washington.
He challenges Gelernter's book, "Mirror World": "You tried to justify your research by claiming that the developments you describe are inevitable, and that any college person can learn about about computers to compete in a computer-dominated world.
"Apparently, people without a college degree don't count."
His letter to The Times makes note of computer experts, saying: "The people we are out to get are the scientists and engineers, especially in critical fields like computers and genetics."
The bomber also threatens in the letter to keep mailing bombs unless The Times or Newsweek or Time magazines publish a 37,000-word article he says he is writing.
"If the answer is unsatisfactory, we will start building our next bomb," he writes.
"The ball is in the Unabomber's court in terms of reaching out to The New York Times," said Jim Freeman, agent in charge of the Unabom task force.
The Unabomber signed both letters FC, ostensibly after an anarchist group. But FBI officials said he is acting alone.
FBI agents also were checking reports that the Unabomber conducted test blasts in the Sierra desert.