Episode 055: Max Noel – Unabomber Terrorist Ted Kaczynski (Part 1)

Retired agent Max Noel served nearly 31 years with the FBI. In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, 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 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)

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

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












Unabomber Terrorist Ted Kaczynski in the custody of Max Noel (left) moments after he was arrested at his cabin in Montana.










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.

















Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, attempts to relive her glory days by writing crime fiction and hosting FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast available for free subscription on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, and other popular podcast apps. Her nonfiction book FBI Myths and Misconceptions: A Manual for Armchair Detectives and her FBI corruption squad police procedurals featuring Special Agent Kari Wheeler are available wherever books are sold.


  1. Smithd613September 26, 2018

    Howdy! Do you know if they make any plugins to protect against hackers? I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked hard on. Any recommendations? bdbfbeefaefgcgak

    1. Jerri WilliamsSeptember 26, 2018

      I use an anti-spam filter and I make sure to backup my site once a week with the UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore plug-in. I then I keep my fingers crossed.

  2. Johna173September 26, 2018

    Enjoyed studying this, very good stuff, regards . A man may learn wisdom even from a foe. by Aristophanes. cceebddbeada

    1. Jerri WilliamsSeptember 26, 2018

      So true!

  3. Rich MixonMarch 29, 2018

    Excels just as the F.B.I. always does. Proud to be an American

    1. Jerri WilliamsMarch 29, 2018

      Max did an excellent job recounting the investigation. Thanks for listening!

  4. Nancy SaiaMarch 22, 2017

    I just listened to the first half of the Unabomber podcast ..WOW! It was fascinating to learn about the background in developing an interagency task force. Your interviews are very engaging and I would not have guessed that was 90 minutes! I love how you let Max recount the amazing history behind trying to identify the bomber but you stop to add some great “layman’s term” analysis & commenary (i.e. FCI involvement, dealing w/ internal FBI resistance to cooperate, etc). Can’t wait to finish part 2!

    1. Jerri WilliamsMarch 22, 2017

      Thanks for listening! In Part 2 Max Noel and the team devise a plan to coax Kaczynzki out of his little mountain bomb factory cabin.


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