Vollmann sued the FBI and CIA under the Freedom of Information Act and eventually obtained 294 pages of his 785-page secret government file.
"I begin to see how government haters are made," he writes describing the absurd suspicions that he might have been the anthrax mailer and a terrorist training with the Afghan mujahideen.
In the essay, titled "Life As a Terrorist," the National Book Award winner is outraged, yes, but also shocked at the ineptitude and arrogance of those tasked with investigating him.
Vollman discovered that a tipster told the FBI that "anti-growth and anti-progress themes persist throughout each VOLLMANN work," and fingered him as the Unabomber.
The novel the tipster was referring to, "Fathers and Crows," was set in seventeenth-century Canada. Incredibly, the FBI incorporated the information quite seriously into their profiling efforts.
"Unabomber, not unlike Vollman has pride of authorship and insists his book be published without editing," the file said.
Vollman says he hadn't really mind being detained at the U.S.-Mexico border for several hours and interrogated -- twice -- not knowing at the time that he had been a Unabomber or anthrax mailer suspect. He thought it was just routine border matters to be cleared up.
In retrospect, the cult writer said in an interview, "You can't blame them for checking me out once." Vollman acknowledges the content of his work and the nature of his lifestyle may lead to a little poking around for the greater good.
But he says the government should have known better than to keep him on terror watch lists for decades.
Just from the fraction of his file he was able to obtain, he found it riddled with alarming errors and incompetence.
The FBI wasn't able to find his Social Security number because they spelled his name wrong. It falsely says he traveled to Beirut. It lists him as armed and dangerous. His file even says he owns a flamethrower. He doesn't.
"I would love to own a flamethrower," he said.
Though he chronicles his secret file with a heavy dose of dark humor, he suspects a lifetime of being spied on by the government at least supports a couple of desk jobs, even if they should know by now he's not a terrorist.
But Vollman still calls those bureaucrat investigators "the Unamericans," systematically depriving people of civil liberties from the shadows in the name of protecting them.
Wisconsin business offering 'therapeutic cuddling' forced to close
Newt Gingrich fires back at Mandela backlash