Episode 056: Max Noel – Unabomber Terrorist Ted Kaczynski (Part 2)

Retired agent Max Noel served nearly 31 years with the FBI. In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review with Jerri Williams, Noel is interviewed about the Unabomber Terrorist Ted Kaczynski case. For 15 years, multiple agencies, including the FBI, AFT, the Postal Inspection Service and numerous state and local police departments, worked mostly independently to identified and arrest the person responsible for setting off 16 bombs throughout the United States that killed three and seriously maimed and injured 23 victims. Noel, who was planning to retire just prior to being hand-picked for the assignment, was selected as the investigative squad supervisor for a new task force created by then Attorney General Janet Reno and FBI Director Louie Freeh. FBI management supported Noel and his multi-agency team with a strategy to manage the massive manpower and paper intensive major investigation—code-named Unabomber— that had previously frustrated and overwhelmed all involved. Ted Kaczynski’s name was among the huge list of potential suspects. As luck would have it, the Unabomber’s anonymity was finally cracked when Kaczynski released his infamous manifesto. Noel and other members of the task force received the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguish Service for their efforts. Noel, along with Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Jim Freeman and Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) Terry D. Turchie, wrote a book, Unabomber: How the FBI Broke Its Own Rules to Capture the Terrorist Ted Kaczynski, about how, after almost 17 years, they finally identified, captured, and convicted the notorious Unabomber.

Supervisory Special Agent (Retired)

Donald “Max” Noel

6/28/1968 – 2/1/1999








The following are an FBI overview and newspaper articles providing additional information regarding the Unabomber terrorist Ted Kaczynski:

FBI Overview: Unabomber Case (VIDEO)

FBI Website: The Words of a Killer – How the Unabomber’s Writings Helped Lead Investigators to His Door 25 Years Ago

Washington Post: 16 Bombs and Three Deaths – Special Report, Timeline, Manifesto

Several composite drawings were made of the Unabomber. This was the one that the only witness to ever get a glimpse of him said looked most like the man she saw.









Famous Newsweek cover featuring the Unabomber Terrorist Ted Kaczynski in the custody of Max Noel (left) moments after his arrest.












Max Noel escorting Unabomber Terrorist Ted Kaczynski to court.











In July 1998, Max Noel received the Attorney General Award for Distinguished Service for his work on the Unabomber case. He is pictured here with AG Janet Reno, FBI Director Louie Freeh and the United States Attorney from New Jersey. Other members of the task force – Terry Turchie, Joel Moss, Lee Stark, Kathy Pucket and Tom Mohnal – also received the award.












Max Noel at a book signing and presentation about the Unabomber Case.










This is the story of the notorious Unabomber Terrorist Ted Kaczynski who had randomly killed and maimed people while leaving a cold trail of terrorism for sixteen years. Get more info about the book here.












This sequel to the original book covers the final two-year pursuit of Kaczynski, and includes excerpts from his personal journal, bringing the reader into the chase. Buy it here.


















Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, jokes that she writes about the FBI to relive her glory days. After 26 years with the Bureau specializing in major economic fraud and corruption investigations, she calls on her professional encounters with scams and schemers to write police procedurals inspired by true crime FBI cases in her Philadelphia FBI Corruption Squad crime fiction series featuring flawed female FBI agent Kari Wheeler. Jerri’s FBI for Armchair Detectives nonfiction series enables readers to discover who the FBI is and what the FBI does by debunking misconceptions about the FBI in books, TV, and movies. Her books are available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks wherever books are sold. She’s also the host of FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast with more than 250 episodes available for free on all popular podcast apps.

1 Comment

  1. Richard A PicoMarch 19, 2023

    As Mrs Williams would say, “This is fascinating,” a wonderful podcast. I learned much. One name that keeps popping up is Director Louie Freeh. His administrative skills seem sharp. Freeh listened to his street agents and took appropriate action to remedy internal bureaucratic red tape. I’d like to see a podcast dedicated to Director Freeh as to his accomplishments & achievements.

    Finally, Mr Kaczynski, a domestic terrorist who caused much harm to his victims, in my opinion, should have been tried with the death penalty as an ultimate consequence for his nefarious & wicked actions. Kaczynski’s actions were highly premeditated. The DOJ gave up too much by not giving Kaczynski’s victims the opportunity to at least let the court decide on Mr Kaczynski’s fate.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to top
Malcare WordPress Security