CyberAlert -- 04/09/1996 -- ABC Makes the Connection!

ABC Makes the Connection!

I spoke too soon. I missed some ABC newscasts that made the Unabomber-environmental extremist connection. On Friday's World News Tonight, ABC's Brian Ross reported how Ted Kaczynski may have gotten his targets from an Earth First list and "was at a meeting attended by Earth First leaders." I haven't seen any follow up on the other networks yet and this certainly hasn't become a major theme of coverage as blaming conservatives did after Oklahoma. But on Sunday's This Week with David Brinkley, Ross told Sam Donaldson: "He [Kaczynski] seems to have become some kind of environmental radical. And much as Timothy McVeigh may have been inspired and inflamed by the militia, it's possible, perhaps, that Kaczynski was inspired and guided by the environmental groups."
What follows is a transcript of the April 5 story taken down today by Jim Forbes, a MRC media analyst. Please note that since names were not on-screen the spellings are only our best guess.

Peter Jennings: "Good evening. We begin tonight with the Unabomber suspect. Today everyone is trying to pull together all of the strands in Theodore Kaczynski's life. For one thing we learned today that the FBI had Kaczynski's name in its files at least a couple of years before his arrest this week. He was there in 1994 as having a connection to a radical environmental group and then last year he was in the files as a possible suspect in the Unabomber case itself. The connections tonight from our chief investigative reporter Brian Ross."
Brian Ross: "Authorities familiar with the case told ABC News today that Kaczynski's name was on a list of suspects generated by the Chicago office of the FBI last fall based on an extensive canvas of area high schools and students specializing in advanced mathematical theory."
Ross: "And beyond that, ABC News also has learned that Kaczynski's name appeared in FBI files in November of 1994 in connection with an FBI investigation of a radical environmental group called Earth First which is active in Montana. Over the years Earth First has been best known as a violent group spiking trees and blowing up logging equipment, and in many respects its anti-corporate philosophy parallels that of the Unabomber."
Ross: "It was in November of 1994 on the campus of the University of Montana in Missoula that authorities believe Kaczynski was at a meeting attended by top Earth First members. The stated topic of the meeting organized by something called the Native Forest Network was 'Focus on the Multinationals.' It was one month later that the Unabomber sent a bomb that killed Thomas Moser of New Jersey, an executive of the public relations firm Burson-Marsteller which does work for large multinational companies.
Today Thomas Fullam who organized the Missoula meeting told ABC News he had no recollection of Kaczynski attending but does recall some mention of Burson-Marsteller."
[Thomas Fullam: "You know there probably was some discussion of it. I don't think there was a real formal discussion."]
Ross: "Today in Seattle a private investigator who infiltrated Earth First for the timber industry, Barry Clawson, says that he has been trying since last August to get the FBI to realize that the Unabomber had to have some kind of connection to Earth First or some other radical environmental groups."
[Barry Clawson: "Based on his beliefs and what he's put in print with his manifesto and his letters, his way of thinking, his ideologies conforms to that of Earth First."]
Ross: "Clawson says the bomb last year that killed the head of the California Forestry Association clearly can be tracked back to a hit list published in one radical environmental journal."
[Clawson: "There's eleven names, or eleven company names on the hit list. Two of the top three are the last two victims of the Unabomber. The number on name on the list is the Timber Association of California with the current address."]
[As Clawson speaks, video of him holding a tabloid newspaper headlined: "Eco-Fucker Hit List."]
Ross: "Today in Eugene Oregon Leslie Hemstreet of Earth First denied any ties to the Unabomber."
[Leslie Hemstreet: "Earth First can't take responsibility for what the Unabomber has done with some information that he might have gotten from our publication. Because if he had read our publication very thoroughly he would have seen that we only espouse non-violence."]
Ross: "It is clear now that the FBI is very interested in pursuing a possible connection to Earth First as a way of explaining what has been a baffling pattern of violence. What's not so clear is how Kaczynski's name could twice show up in FBI files. First as a possible environmental radical and then as a possible Unabomber suspect without the FBI closing in on him sooner. And today the FBI said it would have no comment on that. Brian Ross, ABC News, Seattle."

So, how long before the media demand liberals tone down their rhetoric? -- Brent Baker