Does James Fitzgerald Still Work For The FBI? The Unabomber Profiler Has An Active Career

Discovery Channel
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Discovery's limited series Manhunt: Unabomber retraces the 17-year bombing spree that hung over America from 1978 to 1995 — a case cracked in large part by FBI profiler James Fitzgerald (played by Sam Worthington in the show). He's gone on to lead an extensive career investigating some of the last century's most notorious crimes: JonBenét Ramsey’s 1996 murder, the 2001 anthrax investigation, the Beltway sniper attacks of 2002. But now two decades later, many viewers may wonder if James Fitzgerald still works for the FBI.

According to his website, he officially retired from the bureau in 2007, but has continued to explore forensic linguistics in various professional capacities. He's done analysis for his Virginia-based company, The Academy Group, consulted on TV shows like Criminal Minds and A&E's Killer Profiler, and chronicled his life across three books in his memoir series, A Journey to the Center of the Mind, the fourth of which is yet to come. But even 22 years after solving the Unabomber case, his legacy endures.

According to Newsweek, it was the first assignment to come across Fitzgerald's desk as a veteran police officer turned young criminal profiler. When an anonymous source sent The New York Times and Washington Post a 35,000-word, anti-technology manifesto and threatened to blow up a plane unless they published it, it was Fitzgerald who helped urge the newspapers to cede to the demand.

As a result, the brother of the eventual suspect came forward saying he recognized the writing and faxed police a 23-page document of his brother's for comparison. Fitzgerald's findings, a 50-page affidavit with side-by-side sentence analysis, became the first time language analysis was used in a criminal case in federal court to get a search warrant.

His then-cutting edge linguistic prowess soon led investigators to Ted Kaczynski, a former mathematics professor gone rogue who, per CNN, was arrested at his cabin in rural Montana on April 3, 1996. He'd left a job at the University of California at Berkeley in 1969, and had been living there as a "hermit," according to his neighbor's description. In 1998, he plead guilty to 16 bombings and was sentenced to life in prison without parole, where he remains.

So, while Fitzgerald is no longer directly involved with the FBI, his contributions had a profound impact on the bureau that exists today, turning what was once considered an unorthodox approach into a burgeoning career field. And it's clear he still has a lot of knowledge to share.