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Manhunt: Unabomber (On Netflix) Login/Join 
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Picture of pulicords
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This is a miniseries based on the FBI investigation and 17 year hunt for a serial murder/bomber that resulted in the arrest, prosecution of, and conviction of Theodore Kaczynski. If you liked the Netflix series "Mindhunter", you'll probably enjoy this too. The offender was literally a Harvard graduate/mathematical genius, but clearly had mental health issues going back to at least his childhood. When someone this smart decides to strike back at a world that he sees as compromised by technology, it's going to take a supreme effort to identify him, get him into custody and obtain a conviction since he's well aware of the types of forensic tools available to law enforcement. A new agent with the FBI's Behavioral Analysis unit is assigned to the taskforce, which already has a "profile" and isn't really interested in following up on the newbie's different takes on who they might be searching for and how they could locate him.

This is a very good series that certainly doesn't show the FBI in it's best form and gives an honest portrayal of how organizational politics can stymie some pretty creative new ideas, right when they're needed most. Well worth watching!!!


"I'm not fluent in the language of violence, but I know enough to get around in places where it's spoken."
 
Posts: 8963 | Location: The Free State of Arizona | Registered: June 13, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Slight thread drift: His arrest would have been the lead story for a couple days except Commerce Secretary Ron Brown died in an AF plane crash in Croatia.
 
Posts: 14448 | Location: Eastern Iowa | Registered: May 21, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Watched it last weekend, enjoyable and informative.


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Posts: 17637 | Location: 18th & Fairfax  | Registered: May 17, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Oh stewardess,
I speak jive.
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I enjoyed it and the Mindhunter series.
 
Posts: 24129 | Registered: March 12, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Peace through
superior firepower
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The FBI didn't catch the guy. They apprehended him, arrested him, but they didn't catch him.
 
Posts: 90252 | Registered: January 20, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If you are interested in the topic of psychopathy and the like here is an expert, Dr. Reid Meloy.
His books explain the sociopathic mind.

http://drreidmeloy.com/
 
Posts: 7972 | Location: Stuck at home | Registered: January 02, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Forgot to mention Dr. Hare. His books are less cerebral and more readable. Her is an article:
https://www.discovermagazine.c...mind-of-a-psychopath
 
Posts: 7972 | Location: Stuck at home | Registered: January 02, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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One of my few claims to fame is getting a visit from the FBI back then..... guess who they thought I might be....

they have a nice file on me:
 
Posts: 1625 | Location: Greenville, SC | Registered: January 30, 2017Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Para is correct. The FBI did NOT catch the Unabomber. But in typical FBI operational protocol, they jumped on the bandwagon and claimed credit for solving the case when reality that had nothing to do with it. But that's SOP for the FBI. I never really had any animosity for the FBI even though I've seen them pull some shit that had anyone in local law enforcement done would be in jail. But now after watching Comey,McCabe,Stroke etc, in action I have lost what little respect I ever had for them. And let's not forget what they did to Richard Jewell down in Georgia.
 
Posts: 5215 | Registered: August 18, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by Bulldog7972:
Para is correct. The FBI did NOT catch the Unabomber. But in typical FBI operational protocol, they jumped on the bandwagon and claimed credit for solving the case when reality that had nothing to do with it. But that's SOP for the FBI. I never really had any animosity for the FBI even though I've seen them pull some shit that had anyone in local law enforcement done would be in jail. But now after watching Comey,McCabe,Stroke etc, in action I have lost what little respect I ever had for them. And let's not forget what they did to Richard Jewell down in Georgia.


FWIW: Watching the series gives one an appreciation for the fact that managers did decide to go with the option of presenting the manifesto, when in the past they'd have done all possible to withhold it. Not only would supporting publication have caused many to believe the FBI (government) was giving in to terrorist threats, other side-effects are as much or even more troublesome. How many copycats would attempt extortion after seeing the FBI comply? How many false leads would be generated and require a huge expenditure of resources, possibly (in the minds of many: Probably) for nothing? What kind of flack would the "Bureau" get for appearing to appease a murderer that they couldn't identify, by the press and public at large?

Finally, the series makes it clear how little "old school" managers thought of using the writings of the bomber as a forensic/behavioral tool. Publishing the manifesto with the hope someone among the public would recognize not only the anti-technology content, but phrasing and word selection as an important clue was a long-shot in their minds. Note how quickly the info from the family members was dismissed because the typewritten letter by Ted didn't match the letters sent by the offender.

I've got a lot of issues regarding abuses, negligence, and just plain crappy work done by the FBI, but in this case (in large part because of the exemplary work done by the profiler and the few who supported his efforts) the FBI (IMHO) did "catch" the bomber, because the lead that resulted in his arrest was generated by their efforts and was recognized as valid when it very likely would have be discarded under "normal circumstances".

Working cases like this are similar to panning for gold. If you've ever gone through the process of doing it, searching for gold in rivers and creeks is a very difficult and time consuming process that usually isn't successful. Successful people don't just scoop up some sand with a pan and put bit of water with it, swish the contents around a bit and pick out "nuggets". In most cases, it's like a difficult hunt. You start by finding the best place on a particular river or creek, where water flows in a manner consistent with depositing gold that's dependent upon the water flow and what rocks line the riverbed. It's then necessary to use a sluice (usually for hours) to fill buckets with promising sediment, then pour the sediment from those buckets through wire mesh, that gets finer and finer until the bit that leftover can then be poured into your pan to uncover some tiny gold flakes ("dust") that are sometimes within the leftover material. The material panned is usually far less than .0001% of what you started with. Simplifying the efforts to suggest that the FBI only arrested the offender after getting a phone tip, is like saying, "The gold was in the river the whole time! It just needed someone willing to collect it!" Wink


"I'm not fluent in the language of violence, but I know enough to get around in places where it's spoken."
 
Posts: 8963 | Location: The Free State of Arizona | Registered: June 13, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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All the little odd things in his youth made him "the perfect storm of crazy".


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Sliced bread, the greatest thing since the 1911.

 
Posts: 17637 | Location: 18th & Fairfax  | Registered: May 17, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
california
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started ep 1 - pretty good.
 
Posts: 10213 | Location: NV | Registered: July 04, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Just because you can,
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Publishing the manifesto and gathering the physical evidence for trial was the FBI's contribution.
The relatives did the actual ID'ing that caused the arrest.
Without that, who knows when he would have been apprehended.
 
Posts: 5938 | Location: NE GA | Registered: August 22, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
california
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Posts: 10213 | Location: NV | Registered: July 04, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by 220-9er:
Publishing the manifesto and gathering the physical evidence for trial was the FBI's contribution.
The relatives did the actual ID'ing that caused the arrest.
Without that, who knows when he would have been apprehended.


Kudos for coming forward, but they'd have never done so or been recognized as a viable lead (after being discounted since the typewriter used to compose the letter to the family wasn't the one used to create the manifesto) if it wasn't for the creative efforts to come up with a good profile by some very good agents.

How does an organization even the size of the FBI sift through thousands or even tens of thousands of "tips" to find the guy? If you haven't already seen it, I'd highly recommend watching this series. For me, it was very enlightening.


"I'm not fluent in the language of violence, but I know enough to get around in places where it's spoken."
 
Posts: 8963 | Location: The Free State of Arizona | Registered: June 13, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
california
tumbles into the sea
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can't eat your cake and have it too
 
Posts: 10213 | Location: NV | Registered: July 04, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I must disagree that as depicted in the series that the lead FBI investigators could be excused for ignoring the evidence that was discovered and supposedly presented and explained again and again by the profiler.

This series and “Designated Survivor” make various FBI agents out to be total idiots. I understand the disdain and anger that’s being directed at the agency these days due to the actions of a few of the top leadership over the past few years, but to excuse ignoring things that were presented by a fellow agent who walks into one’s office with a sheaf of papers and a list of examples is just incredible. That’s not the same as trying to sift through hundreds of vague tips from the general public.

And the typewriter thing was literally jaw-dropping when I saw it. “Yeah, we have two written threats to the PE teacher. The handwriting and wording are similar, but one was written on yellow lined paper and the other on white lined paper, so we don’t think they were from the same person”—seriously‽ Again, the differences would be a factor to consider, but to say, “Oh, no; it couldn’t have been him because the bomber used a different typewriter”? We try to run down and interview thousands of men with the same name in the faint hope that one will give us a useful lead, and yet we flatly reject the possibility that someone could have used two different typewriters to prepare different documents? Literally unbelievable for a competent criminal investigator.

And textual and other analysis of written materials were hardly something that was invented by the FBI in the 1990s. The thing that put the nail in the coffin of my belief in Santa Claus was a note left one Christmas morning explaining why I didn’t get a present I wanted that had my father’s distinctive handwriting and word usage.

The one thing the series did for me was to pique my curiosity about how the investigation was actually handled, so I have a book on the Unabomber coming. I am very interested to see if the FBI case leadership was as clueless (literally!) and resistant to the profiler’s evidence as the series depicted. It’s certainly possible, and I dealt with plenty of incompetents during my career, but I would have expected much better from agents of the world’s supposed top investigative agency.




“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
 
Posts: 41763 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by sigfreund: I am very interested to see if the FBI case leadership was as clueless (literally!) and resistant to the profiler’s evidence as the series depicted. It’s certainly possible, and I dealt with plenty of incompetents during my career, but I would have expected much better from agents of the world’s supposed top investigative agency.


Something to keep in mind: The career tracks of managers and cops (agents) who love doing policework are usually different and frequently incompatible. Most of the upper tier managers I've worked for made their way up by helping support the status quo. As shown in the Netflix series "Mindhunter" the use of behavioral analysis to conduct interviews, interrogations, and formulate "profiles" made FBI managers cringe on several levels. I've been involved in the use of Behavioral Analysis since the early 1990's (for interviews and interrogations), and it's my experience that among those taught the techniques in formal settings, about 10% actually adopt the tactics and strategies. The rest just continue doing what they'd always done. Even though skilled BA based interrogators routinely get far more reliable confessions than those who go "old school" (getting in people's faces and using threats), and the risks of coerced/false confessions is significantly reduced, managers refuse to adopt policies that mandate best practices. Their reasoning: "Who needs that stuff? I never used it and look where I ended up!"

When you spend just enough time in an investigative role to get your "ticket punched" and move on, the process and inherent risks really don't mean much. Look no further than the idiocy rooted in upper-level FBI managers in the "Russian Collusion" hoax. Their "footprint" made it exceptionally easy to who was doing what and how those actions were so contrary to a legitimate investigation.


"I'm not fluent in the language of violence, but I know enough to get around in places where it's spoken."
 
Posts: 8963 | Location: The Free State of Arizona | Registered: June 13, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by pulicords:
Most of the upper tier managers I've worked for made their way up by helping support the status quo.


I understand what you're saying, but I still will be very interested to see what the book has to say. One of the (author's?) comments was that it was going to address some of what was presented in the series, and I can only hope that it will claim that the people at the top, and even the profiler's immediate boss, weren't as obstinately dense as the series made them out to be.




“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
 
Posts: 41763 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I received Hunting the Unabomber by Lis Wiehl last week and it was a quick read.

First I’ll mention that the author is a self-admitted firm admirer of the FBI, with a lot of family background in law enforcement and the Bureau specifically. She herself was a Federal prosecutor. I got the impression that she wouldn’t have been untruthful about anything, but might have omitted or glossed over things that were minor in her opinion and would have shown a bad light on the personnel and efforts. And if the dust jacket wasn’t enough to let us know what her background was, she mentioned it, including attending Harvard law school, several times in the book itself.

All that being said, however, she makes it clear that the Netflix series’ depiction of the investigation was a fictionalized [emphasis in the original] account of the investigation and cites countless specific examples to demonstrate her assertion. One egregious example was the fact that there was never any meeting and discussion between the bomber and any FBI agent, much less that he was talked into pleading guilty by a profiler.

The stuff about the bomber’s Harvard experience and the mind control experiments was touched on in the book, but it downplayed its possible effect on the bomber. In fact, he himself continued to participate in the experiment to demonstrate that he couldn’t be “broken.”

Another obvious example of how the series simply made stuff up was all the supposed drama about the profiler Fitz and his contribution to the case. According to the author, he was only a very minor player in the operation, and, she asserts, the actual “accredited” (not sure if that’s the right term) profiler members of the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit were themselves rather hidebound in their views and didn’t help at all. In addition, there weren’t stacks of differing profiles prepared by different profilers that cluttered up the investigative files. In fact, the profilers she mentioned resisted changing their original profile and said in effect that no new information would change what the profile was.

Another agent who wasn’t a member of the BAU (to that unit’s displeasure) was recruited to look at the profile information and made more of a profiling contribution, but wasn’t even mentioned in the Netflix series.

As for how the information from the bomber’s sister-in-law and brother was received and handled, that was another dramatic fictionalization. There was one old, about to retire, agent who had been roped into the unpopular investigation who scoffed at the linguistic analysis, but that was not true of most of the agents and supervisors who saw the “manifesto” and another example of the bomber’s writing.

Even though the author may have tried to depict the FBI and the other agencies involved in the best possible light (and I’m speculating to a good degree), she didn’t hesitate to point out many failings by various individuals, including the early lack of interagency coordination, the FBI lab’s statement that the same person couldn’t have prepared two different documents because they were made with different typewriters, the BAU’s uselessness, and even the fact that one investigator from a different agency (not the FBI) took a large box of investigative files home with him when he retired and it was recovered only by accident.

In all it was a fascinating and informative book and well worth the read for someone like me who has a criminal investigation background and wondered how many of the events depicted in the Netflix series could have occurred. It was, however, mostly about the unproductive elements of the investigation because, after all, that’s what it mostly was: unproductive.

Some of the reasons for that unproductivity were examples of how not to conduct a criminal investigation, but most were simply due to the nature of the crimes and the perpetrator himself. He was very smart, very careful, and because he targeted victims almost at random, identifying him in the usual way was impossible. If it hadn’t been for the decision to publish his manifesto (which was opposed by many members of the FBI) and that’s leading to an excerpt’s being read by literally the one person in the world who would have recognized the writing, the crimes would probably never have been solved.

And finally, if anyone else would like to read the book, I’d be happy to pass it on.




“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
 
Posts: 41763 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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