NEW YORK -- At the request of Attorney General Janet Reno and the FBI, and with the concurrence of the New York Times, the Washington Post today is publishing the unaltered 35,000-word manifesto of the serial killer known as the Unabomber in the hope of ending his 17-year campaign of murder through the mails.
The bomber offered last June to stop the killing, though not necessarily the property damage, if the text of the manifesto, calling for a revolution against the industrial-technological underpinnings of society, was published by one of the two newspapers within three months, and if three annual follow-up messages were printed.
Facing the deadline Sunday, Donald E. Graham, the publisher of the Washington Post, and Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the publisher of the New York Times, said yesterday that the decision to publish had been made jointly by the newspapers on the recommendation of the attorney general and Louis J. Freeh, director of the FBI, "for public safety reasons."
In separate interviews, Mr. Graham and Mr. Sulzberger said that they were acting solely in an effort to save lives. "Neither paper has any journalistic reason to print this," Mr. Graham said. And Mr. Sulzberger said: "Whether you like it or not, we're turning our pages over to a man who has murdered people. But I'm convinced we're making the right choice between bad options."
The Unabomber has killed 3 people and injured 23 others in 16 mail bombings since 1978.