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Invasion of Privacy: How the FBI Rewarded a Hero

He did one of the toughest things a person can do. He is an authentic national hero. But, for several days, he was pursued and harassed, his telephone was off the hook, he was not answering the doorbell, and he was unable to go to work.

You may guess that I'm talking about David Kaczynski, the social worker who made the agonizing decision to turn in his brother in order to possibly save innocent lives. He was rewarded by having his privacy shattered in violation of the FBI's written promise to protect his identity. Further, he has had to endure suggestions - false, according to his attorney - that he was seeking the million-dollar reward and/or trying to bargain down from the death penalty for his brother.

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Like his older brother, David seems to like wilderness solitude. But, unlike Ted, who may have turned his talents inward to plot against the world, David turned them outward toward the unfortunate of the world. Having married his high school sweetheart, he worked at a group home for the disabled and more recently as assistant director of a shelter for runaway and homeless teenagers in Albany, N.Y.

He also has a strong sense of family loyalty. So it must have been with mounting dismay that he faced accumulating indications that his brother had been in places where bombs had been mailed and that the Unabomber's Manifesto read very much like some of the things he knew his brother to have written.

Private investigators confirmed his deepening suspicions. Finally, through a lawyer, he tipped off the FBI about Ted and his location, asking only that his own identity be kept confidential - from the public and from his brother, whose revenge he feared.

About expecting to remain anonymous, he had to be kidding himself. Law-enforcement officials, eager to trumpet a success for a change, have been leaking details of the FBI investigation like a sieve. Word of the raid on Ted Kaczynski's Montana shack on April 3 was on television before it happened. Within hours, the name of the agonized brother who had turned him in was generally known. Attorney General Janet Reno has condemned the leaks but seemed helpless to stop them.

Around David's home in Schenectady, N.Y., the cameras and reporters gathered for their ritual stakeout. David found himself surrealistically the prisoner. It seems that no good deed will go unpunished. His wife, who teaches philosophy, had to have a reporter thrown out of Union College.

David called a friend from his Texas desert days and talked about his brother. "I love him and I can't help but love him, but I can't condone what he did."

But David has refused to parade his celebrityhood on the media, and by some lights, that makes him un-American. So, on radio, Gordon Liddy calls him a betrayer, and on television, David Letterman calls him "Unasnitch."

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And where is Federal law enforcement, which spends millions on witness protection but didn't protect its star witness? Spilling out details of the investigation and taking bows, that's where.

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