Tuesday, 27 August 2013

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Scientology: A long trail of controversy
Date: Sunday, 27 August 1978
Publisher: Los Angeles Times (California)
Authors: Robert Gillette, Robert Rawitch
Main source: link (710 KiB)

On May 14, 1951, Lafayette Ronald Hubbard wrote to the U.S. attorney general to plead for help in fending off a Communist conspiracy, dedicated, he averred, to destroying him. "When, when, when," he wrote, "will we have a roundup?"

Rambling through seven single-spaced typewritten pages, the letter was, to all appearances, the heartfelt cry of a troubled man.

A successful science fiction writer in the 1940s, L. Ron Hubbard, as he signed himself, had gone on to bigger things. He had "discovered" (not invented, he insisted) dianetics, an amalgam of Freudian psychology and computer terminology which he propounded as the answer to human aberration, emotional anxiety, psychosomatic illness and the common cold.

His book, "Dianetics — The Modern Science of Mental Health," had been an instant success in May of 1950, and Hubbard had poured the proceeds from his best-seller into the formation of the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation with branches in Elizabeth, N.J.; Chicago; Washington, D.C.; New York, Los Angeles and Honolulu.

Only a year later, state medical authorities in New Jersey were investigating him on suspicion of conducting a medical school without a license, his foundation was on the verge of bankruptcy, his second marriage was in shambles and he suspected his wife and many of his associates of Communist activities.

"The Communist Party have in the past year wiped out a half-a-million dollar operation for me, have cost me my health and have considerably retarded material of interest to the United States Government," Hubbard said in the letter, which the FBI released in 1977 under provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. Church spokesmen in Los Angeles were shown a copy of the letter by Times reporters in early August and have not challenged its authenticity.

Russians, moreover, were trying to lure him to the Soviet Union to acquire his secrets of brainwashing while at the same time trying to destroy dianetics, "an American Science," Hubbard said.

And there were mysterious attacks, three in all, each while he slept. The most severe, Hubbard wrote, occurred in February, 1951, in his apartment on N. Rossmore St. in Los Angeles.

"About two or three o'clock in the morning, the apartment was entered, I was knocked out, had a needle thrust into my heart to give it a jet of air to produce a coronary thrombosis and was given an electric shock with a 110-volt current. All this is very blurred to me. I had no witnesses."

It was not the first such communication the Justice Department had received from Hubbard and it would not be the last. Four years later, the FBI made the notation "appears mental" on one of his missives and ceased acknowledging them.

Whatever the FBI may think of him, it is unlikely that the FBI or anyone else outside Hubbard's small circle of loyal followers quite anticipated his capacity for rebounding from misfortune.
Twenty-seven years later, the 67-year-old Hubbard stands venerated by several hundred thousand followers in the United States, Europe and scattered parts of Africa and Asia as the founding patriarch of the Church of Scientology.

From a faddish metaphysical cult in the early 1950s, Hubbardian dianetics became Hubbardian Scientology and in 1954 began to assume the mantle of a new religion. Since the early 1960s, Scientology under the guidance of Hubbard and his third wife, Mary Sue, has metamorphosed into an elaborate Orwellian theocracy of imposing international scale, influence and wealth.

In the intervening years Hubbard's expanding organization has left a trail of controversy across four continents as medical authorities attacked Scientology's therapeutic claims and governments resisted its efforts to gain the special protections that Western society accords to religious organizations — notably, tax-exempt status. Scientology in turn lashed back at its critics with vitriolic combativeness.

"Don't ever defend. Always attack ... Only attacks resolve threats," Hubbard advised his expanding worldwide organization in a policy laid down Aug. 15, 1960. "If attacked ... always find or manufacture enough threat against them to cause them to sue for peace."

"People who attack Scientology are criminals," Hubbard wrote in later church documents. "Politician A stands up on his hind legs in a parliament and brays for condemnation of Scientology. When we look him over we find crimes — embezzled funds, moral lapses, a thirst for young boys — sordid stuff."
Accusations, in the late 1960s and early 1970s by orthodox psychologists and psychiatrists, that Scientology represented a detriment to community mental health and involved unscrupulous business practices prompted formal government inquiries in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, England and South Africa.

The practice of Scientology was banned in much of Australia from 1965 until 1973, when the organization won recognition as a church. Britain in 1968 banned the entry of foreign nationals, including Hubbard and his wife, for the purpose of studying Scientology. Last March, a French court convicted Hubbard and two associates in absentia of fraudulent medical practice and set a fine equivalent to $7,000.

Through it all, Hubbard has remained an enigmatic, reclusive figure, insulated by his church from the tribulations of the world, isolated from most of his followers, preoccupied with churning out doctrinal texts, policy directives and tape-recorded sermons that his spokesmen estimate exceed a cumulative total of 25 million words.

Since the British ban was instituted in 1968, Hubbard has been barred from what Scientologists term the "Mother Church," a 20-room mansion on a 57-acre estate at East Grinstead, Sussex. Saint Hill Manor, as the estate was known in the days when the Maharajah of Jaipur owned it, has, since 1959, been the international headquarters of the Church of Scientology.

In lieu of British residence, Hubbard spent much of his time until last year aboard his 3,280-ton converted ferry, the Apollo, plying the Atlantic and Mediterranean in the company of a Scientology elite called the Sea Org, whose members customarily sign a "billion-year contract" swearing fealty to "Ron".

Church spokesmen say the Sea Org now has its headquarters on land (at a $2.8 million center purchased in 1975 at Clearwater, Fla.), that the Apollo was sold 14 months ago, and that Hubbard is currently "traveling in the United States and Europe" looking for a permanent place to settle in his retirement years.

Reliable, independent estimates of Scientology's following do not exist. Although the numbers are undoubtedly large, figures provided by the church itself are often inconsistent and sometimes appear inflated.
Spokesmen for Scientology, for example, often assert that theirs is "the world's fastest-growing religion." 

Hubbard himself said in 1964 that his followers were "in the millions" and were doubling in number every six months — a rate at which the membership of Scientology would have exceeded the entire world's population before the end of 1969.

At various times and places in the past two years, Scientology spokesmen have put the organization's adherents at between 4.5 million and 15 million. The church currently claims 3.5 million in the United States and another 1 million abroad, but acknowledges that these figures include everyone who has either taken one Scientology counseling course or bought two of its books.

When pressed for the number of people consistently involved in Scientology in the United States, spokesmen have — for the past two years — put forward the figure of 600,000.

Whatever the precise numbers, Scientology plainly appeals to thousands of people here and abroad who, as church officials point out, would not continue investing in its counseling if they felt it were of no benefit. Testimonials from such celebrity-participants as former '49er quarterback John Brodie and actor John Travolta have helped enhance Scientology's public image.

And there is no reason to believe that Scientology's parishioners have been cognizant of, much less a party to, the controversial activities of the church's worldwide Guardian Office.

The grassroots organization of Scientology consists of churches in large urban areas supplemented by more numerous missions (formerly called "franchises") that are often small storefront operations. To non-members, perhaps the most familiar distinguishing characteristic of Scientology is the organization's aggressive sidewalk recruitment appeal to take a "free personality test."

An organizational list that the California headquarters church in Los Angeles filed in a federal court proceeding on May 10, 1977, enumerates 16 churches and 72 smaller missions in the United States and an additional 33 churches and 47 missions in 16 other countries.

According to an attractive book published by the California organization and entitled, "Scientology: A World Religion Emerges in the Space Age," all of these entities are "autonomous corporations operated on a separate basis but united by a theological bond of common doctrine, practice and belief."

Although the book does not say so, the principal churches of Scientology around the world are also united with the Mother Church in England by the electronic bond of telex. Saint Hill Manor both as an advanced training school and as command center for the Hubbard Communications Office, an incorporated administrative body from which emanates a steady stream of doctrinal, internal management and fiscal policy directives complete with coded marginalia and security classifications that give them more the ambience of State Department cables to embassies overseas than ecclesiastic communications.

Among material the FBI seized from the church, for example, is a Sept. 17, 1976, document listing 18 pages concerning codes and security classifications for "various communications."
Saint Hill is also world headquarters for the Guardian Office, a secretive, parallel administrative structure that extends into the principal churches abroad.

In a policy letter from the Hubbard Communications Office dated May 20, 1970, and transmitted to churches overseas, Mary Sue Hubbard explained that the Guardian Office's purview would include such sensitive matters as liaison with news media and government agencies as well as "Special Guardian relations," "Opposition Group relations," and "Troublesome relations."

Federal investigators and former church officials have said that the Guardian Office's responsibilities include intelligence gathering and covert operations against those whom the church regards as its enemies, or "suppressive persons" or "squirrel groups," in Scientology's terms.

While communiques flow out from Saint Hill Manor, money flows in. Of each church's and mission's gross receipts, 10% is tithed to world headquarters. The church does not provide a public accounting of its expenditures, except to say that L. Ron Hubbard lives largely on royalties from his works including his 1950 "Dianetics," now in its 26th printing.

Although the essentials of dianetics have become the doctrine of Scientology, the church appears to consider the book itself obsolete. Indeed, the California branch said in 1974 that "the obsolescence of early dianetics is extremely well-known among Scientologists."

The book's obsolescence has not deterred the Church of Scientology from promoting its sale, however.

Last May the church launched a $650,000 national television and magazine advertising campaign in 21 cities to push sales of the 28-year-old book, which costs $2 in paperback. A similar campaign in Los Angeles last year helped sell 100,000, a fifth of all those sold in the United States in 1977.
George Chelekis, a Scientology publicist in New York, said the church is also spending another $125,000 this year to promote a "revised version" of Hubbard's 1958 book, "Have You Lived Before This Life?"

Data on the Church of Scientology's worldwide finances are as elusive as its membership figures. But the organization's practice of buying multimillion-dollar properties with hard cash suggests, along with other evidence, a robust financial condition.

In January of 1974, for example, the Church of Scientology paid $1.1 million for a former Jesuit novitiate and 805 acres of land near Salem, Ore. In December, 1975, the church bought an old hotel and nearby bank building near Clearwater, Fla., for conversion to an administrative and training center, and paid in excess of $2.3 million by a check drawn on a Luxembourg bank.

In June, 1976, the California church paid $5.5 million in cash for a disused Cedars of Lebanon hospital in Los Angeles which now serves as Scientology's North American headquarters.

A variety of internal church documents, which were not intended for publication, suggest a phenomenal income growth during the 1970s — and in turn help explain the urgency with which the church has sought to protect its assets with the tax-exempt status of a religious organization.

One such document, a mimeographed "Order of the Day," circulated April 9, 1973, aboard Hubbard's flagship Apollo, states that the worldwide organization's gross annual income grew from 390,666 British pounds (about $1 million at prevailing rates) in 1966-67 to $8.5 million in 1972-73. The document projected 1974 gross income at the equivalent of $24 million.

Former church officials have estimated the church's annual gross income worldwide at $100 million or more.

Most of Scientology's income derives from the fees or "fixed donations" that its churches and missions charge for the organization's novel form of psychological counseling or "auditing" that constitutes Scientology's main ecclesiastical activity. Parishioners are expected to spend sums ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars for auditing courses that promise to relieve anxieties, expand one's self-esteem and "awareness," enhance the intellect and open the way to self-determination and "total freedom."

These promises are founded upon Hubbard's conception of the human mind and its foibles and he began to elucidate on them in his 1950 book on dianetics.

Hubbard wrote that the source of all human aberration and most illness was a primitive subconscious he called the "reactive mind." This, he said, was a "memory bin" of painful traumatic experiences recorded in the form of "engrams." As the root of all evil, engrams interfered with the workings of an unerringly rational, computerlike "analytical mind."

In a theme of prenatal violence that weaves through the book, Hubbard said repeatedly that many engrams date from one's days in the womb. "Mama gets hysterical, baby gets an engram. Papa hits mama, baby gets an engram ... and so it goes."

Only by dredging up painful experiences and guilt feelings during auditing could one identify and banish accumulated engrams and achieve the exalted, purely rational state of "clear."

Had he gone no further, Hubbard's treatise on dianetics might have been remembered as an imaginative recasting of Freudian psychology and perhaps as a forerunner of assertiveness training. But Hubbard proclaimed an array of medical fringe benefits for "clears" that put him on a collision course with medical authorities up to and including the federal Food and Drug Administration.

"The problem of psychosomatic illness is entirely encompassed by dianetics, and by dianetic technique such illness has been eradicated entirely in every case," he wrote.

"Arthritis vanishes, myopia gets better, heart illness decreases, asthma disappears, stomachs function properly, and the whole catalog of ills goes away and stays away.

"Clears," Hubbard added, "do not get colds."

In a later publication he said that Scientology and the dianetic "therapy" if incorporated could "make the blind see again, the lame walk again, the ill recover and the sane saner."

In the ensuing hue and cry from the medical profession, Hubbard's chain of dianetic foundations from New Jersey to California withered quickly. He briefly reestablished himself in Kansas, then retreated to Phoenix, where in 1954 he incorporated the Hubbard Academy of Scientology and then the Founding Church of Scientology in Washington, D.C., with branches in Los Angeles.

Dianetics now reappeared, but under the banner of Scientology and embroidered with elements of Buddhism, Hinduism and the galactic wanderings of a migratory wraith called the "thetan."

It was not the brain that harbored the obtrusive engrams, but the "thetan," or soul, Hubbard now held. Over the course of trillions of years (in contrast to the approximately 15 billion years astronomers assign to the age of the present universe) thetans had accumulated a weighty burden of engrams during successive reincarnations, and the challenge of purging them now seemed more formidable.

Going "clear" became a more difficult, and expensive, endeavor.

To help preclears disencumber themselves from eons of engrams, Hubbard in 1954 introduced the E-meter, a simple electronic device resembling a lie detector. It consists of a galvanometer in a wooden box, circuitry called a balanced Wheatstone bridge that is sensitive to small changes in skin resistance that might (or might not) be related to anxiety, and two metal cans wired to the device.

The preclear clutches the cans while the interrogating auditor fires questions and watches for the needle to bobble about in the violent "theta bops" indicative of a sensitive engram.

The Canadian inquiry into Scientology, conducted by the Ontario provincial government in 1968, observed that Hubbard, by reconstituting dianetics in the form of religious corporations, had realized a distinct advantage: "that the field of religion is much less restricted than the field of medicine."

Hubbard's appreciation of this distinction is evidenced in a variety of internal memoranda, including a policy letter dispatched from Saint Hill Manor over his name to the Washington, New York and Los Angeles offices of Scientology on Oct. 29, 1962. Noting that the federal Food and Drug Administration was showing "interest" in the E-meter, Hubbard said that "Scientology 1970 is being planned on a religious organization basis throughout the world.

"This will not upset the usual activities of any organization (within Scientology). It is entirely a matter for accountants and solicitors."

The benefits of church status were demonstrated the following year, when the Food and Drug Administration raided the Founding Church of Scientology in Washington, D.C., and seized 100 E-meters and two tons of literature that the government said falsely branded E-meters as useful in treatment of ailments ranging from schizophrenia to radiation burns to polio and the common cold.

The Church of Scientology fought the case in federal courts for 10 years, arguing that the FDA seizure had violated the constitutional protections afforded religious freedom. In a limited sense, Scientology won.

Federal District Judge Gerhard Gesell ruled in 1971 that the church had advanced "extravagant false claims" that physical and mental illness could be cured through therapy involving the E-meter, and he said such claims were "quackery." But Gesell also said the church was entitled to First Amendment protection as a religion and could use the E-meters in religious counseling.

In the interim, Scientology has retreated from claiming to cure psychosomatic or mental illness, and its publications now carry a disclaimer that the E-meter is not "intended or effective" for medical uses.

The organization's literature now insists that Scientology's purpose is no more than to make the "able more able" and to treat ills of the spirit, not the mind and body.

For these services, the church charges what it calls "fixed donations."

An introductory course aimed at improving one's communications skills and bolstering self-confidence costs $75. Being audited all the way to clear can take two years and cost $5,000 to $10,000.

Achieving the supreme state of "Operating Thetan" can cost thousands more, and according to the church's price lists, the cost of Scientological counseling is rising by 5% a month for an annual inflation rate of 60%.
 "What governments, people and even our orgs (organizations) can't get understood is that NO PRODUCTION-No Money," Hubbard explained in a Nov. 27, 1971, policy letter entitled "Money."
"The staff member, as part of the org, may think his pay comes from mysterious places. It does not. It comes from his own personal production ...

"It is up to Division 6 (the church's marketing division) to build up a DEMAND for the services and a volume of people who then demand the service. It does this with surveys of what the public will buy that the org can offer. It then makes the public aware of this by ads and contacts. The public comes in and pays ... That is really all there is to it."

Scientology's L. Ron Hubbard . . . official biographies seem larger than life
Date: Sunday, 27 August 1978
Publisher: Los Angeles Times (California)
Author: Robert Gillette
Main source: link (239 KiB)

[Picture / Caption: FOUNDER — L. Ron Hubbard bust in lobby of Scientology administrative building.]
Like the Romanesque bronze busts of L. Ron Hubbard displayed in churches of Scientology, the official biographies of Scientology's founder seem larger than life.

Born in Tilden, Neb., on March 13, 1911, to Navy Comdr. Harry Ross Hubbard and his wife, Dora May, he is said to have spent his early childhood on the Montana cattle ranch of his maternal grandfather, "where long days were spent riding, breaking broncos, hunting coyotes and taking his first steps as an explorer."
Hubbard could "ride before he could walk," learned to read and write by the age of 3½, became the nation's youngest Eagle Scout at 12, and found himself accepted as blood brother of the Blackfoot Indians — the subject of his first novel, "Buckskin Brigades."

Between the ages of 14 and 18, when most youths his age would have attended high school, Hubbard traveled Asia with his father studying Eastern religions, according to church biographers. His encounters included, Hubbard himself later wrote, a magician whose ancestors served in the court of Kublai Khan and a Hindu who could hypnotize cats.

A biographical sketch published in 1976 by the principal U.S. Church of Scientology, in Los Angeles, said that he returned to the United States at the age of 19 and went on to graduate in mathematics and engineering from George Washington University's Columbia College, having taken "one of the first courses ever offered in what is now called nuclear physics."

A more recent, and conflicting, sketch provided by the church explains that his enrollment at George Washington in 1930 (at age 19) was preceded by a period of "intense study" in two Washington, D.C., preparatory schools. It does not say that he graduated, however.
Later, Hubbard claimed a. D.D. (Doctorate of Divinity) and a Ph.D. He described himself in a 1951 letter to the FBI as "basically, a scientist in the field of atomic and molecular phenomena. At least, that was my course in college."

A transcript of Hubbard's brief career at George Washington, which became part of the public record in a 1967 federal tax proceeding against the church, shows that Hubbard did enroll in 1930 but failed calculus and beginning, German, earned D grades in chemistry and ended his freshman year on probation.

The record shows that in his sophomore year he took a physics course that embraced atomic and molecular subjects but failed it and dropped out at the end of the year. The Ph.D. was an honorary degree awarded in 1950 by an unaccredited Los Angeles institution called Sequoia University. There is no record of his having earned a D.D.

Asked to explain these discrepancies, a Los Angeles spokesman for Scientology said only that "The church does not stand or fall on Mr. Hubbard's academic record."

His red hair and his restless energy earned Hubbard the nickname "Flash" in the 1930s as he developed a reputation as adventurer, mariner, barnstormer, author and explorer, his biographers say. His works include romantic adventure ("Hurtling Wings") and science fiction ("Final Blackout" and "Typewriter in the Sky").

"Hubbard was one of the first writers to switch to an electric typewriter in order to keep pace with his own fertile imagination," one biographical statement from the church asserts. In addition to all his other activities, he is said to have found time to lead expeditions to Alaska and the Caribbean before the war.

Hubbard's war record is obscure. One recent church statement says that he was commissioned by the Navy before the war, at its outbreak was ordered to the Philippines and served later "in both the North Atlantic and North Pacific and rose to command a squadron."

He was said to have been "seriously injured at the end of the war" and "so critically injured that he had twice been pronounced dead."

Another statement says that "in 1944, crippled and blinded, he found himself in Oak Knoll Naval Hospital" in Oakland where he spent nearly a year. By 1947 he recovered fully.

Hubbard himself has written that he was among the first beneficiaries of therapeutic techniques he would later call dianetics.

"Blinded with injured optic nerves, and lame with physical injuries to hip and back at the end of World War II, I faced an almost nonexistent future . . . I yet worked my way back to fitness and strength in less than two years, using only what I knew and could determine about Man and his relationship to the universe."

A Navy spokesman confirmed that Hubbard had risen to the rank of lieutenant during World War II, but said that his service record did not show that he received a Purple Heart, a medal routinely given for injuries in wartime.

A Navy spokesman also said in response to an inquiry from The Times: "A review of L. Ron Hubbard's medical record by BuMed (the Navy Bureau of Medicine) does not indicate he was treated for any injuries sustained during his military career."

The spokesman added that this did not rule out the possibility that Hubbard had received medical treatment during "sick call" but. noted that such treatment would have been for ambulatory, not bedridden, patients.

In 1949 Hubbard told a science fiction writers' meeting in Newark, NJ., that "Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wanted to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion."

Church spokesmen have not denied that Hubbard made the remark but insist that it was meant in jest.

Missing from Hubbard's biographies is a clear explanation for the deep antipathy he developed, and began expressing in the late 1940s, for the mental health professions, particularly psychiatry. This antipathy also pervades the doctrine of the church, its social reform activities and its publications.

"There are people who suppress," Hubbard wrote in a 1969 statement that the church continues to circulate. "Such want position in order to kill. Such as Genghis Khan, Adolf Hitler, psychiatrists, psychopathic criminals, want power only to destroy."

His own a personal encounters appear to have played a role in shaping this attitude. Hubbard has indicated in his writings that he observed people under psychiatric care while at Oak Knoll Hospital.

In an interview he gave to the FBI on March 7, 1951, according to the FBI's internal memo summarizing the conversation, Hubbard "advised that he had recently been psychoanalyzed in Chicago and was found to be quite normal with the exception of his current marital difficulties."

In the memo, which the FBI released recently under Freedom of Information Act, the agent writing the summary said this was "an apparent attempt to give credence to his statements" that Communists had infiltrated his Dianetic Research Foundation.

Hubbard rarely has appeared in public in the last decade. His last known public appearance was in Clearwater. Fla., in 1976, as the church was establishing a new training center there. Time magazine described him as "portly, in apparent good health" and "flamboyant and authoritative", as he barked orders to a crew of young people.

Now 67, Hubbard is said by the church to be traveling in the United States and Europe looking for a place to settle for an active retirement.

—By Robert Gillette

Church wages propaganda on a world scale
Date: Sunday, 27 August 1978
Publisher: Los Angeles Times (California)
Authors: Robert Gillette, Robert Rawitch
Main source: link (1.03 MiB)

"The DEFENSE of anything is untenable. The only way to defend anything is to ATTACK, and if you ever forget that, then you will lose every battle you are engaged in, whether it is in terms of personal conversations, public debate, or a court of law."
— L. Ron Hubbard

For more than a decade, the worldwide Church of Scientology, one of the burgeoning new religions of the 1960s and '70s, has conducted sophisticated intelligence and propaganda operations on an international scale against government agencies, private organizations and individual critics the church perceives as its enemies.

The church's involvement in covert activities appears to extend well beyond federal agencies named in an indictment a Washington, D.C., federal grand jury handed down Aug. 15 against 11 members of the church hierarchy in the United States and Britain.

The 11 were indicted in connection with an alleged conspiracy to steal government documents and burglarize the Internal Revenue Service, Justice Department and other federal agencies. The indictment also alleged a second separate conspiracy to obstruct justice through a coverup of the thefts.

A three-month inquiry by The Times indicates that, in addition to federal agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department, Scientologists obtained jobs in key offices of the American Medical Assn., the Council of Better Business Bureaus and the Los Angeles office of the California attorney general.

The government's case in great measure resulted from the testimony of Michael Meisner, former head of Scientology's covert operations in Washington, D.C., who turned government informant in June, 1977.

Spokesmen for the Church of Scientology's national center in Los Angeles have argued that such acts could be justified as a defense against what the church regards as persistent efforts by the United States and other nations to "harass" and "suppress" its members, growth and practices — notably, in the United States, by the revocation of federal tax-exempt status for some churches in the 1960s.

"Our church members do not claim their total innocence of some of the charges to be leveled against them," the church said in a news release issued in July in Los Angeles when it appeared that indictments were imminent.

"What they do contend is that they did so in defense against a government bureaucracy which has consistently acted against the civil and human rights of the church and its members."

An abundance of court records and the church's own internal memoranda and policy statements suggests that its main objectives have been to obtain information embarrassing to Scientology's critics, to root out "false" information about the church in government files, to gain advantage in its numerous legal battles with the government, and to discredit — by "disinformation" if necessary — agencies and private groups the church believes have worked to "suppress" Scientology.

More than 90,000 pages of documents were seized by the FBI from Church of Scientology offices in simultaneous raids in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles on July 8, 1977. Half of the material has since been returned to the church.

One document seized was an internal order stamped by the church as "secret" discussing "standard" actions to locate the government's "false and secret files" on Scientology, using "suitable guises" and "penetrations."

The same document, dated March 27, 1976, and issued by the church's worldwide headquarters at an estate in Sussex, Eng., states that in approaching "vital targets" Scientologists should "use all possible lines of approach to obtain files, i.e. job penetration; janitor penetration; suitable guises utilizing covers, etc."

Additional items listed among the FBI's inventory of seized materials include:

— A three-page confidential report inscribed, "Operation Cat — major target: to plant grossly false information in governmental agencies" that is dated Sept. 16, 1975. A second document, undated, described the same way, bears the title, "Kitten IP44."

— A six-page memorandum dated Oct. 17, 1976, referring to an "MM Plan" which the FBI said concerned the furnishing of "disinformation to the FBI."

— A lock-picking kit.

— Credentials for an "International Press Service" and letterhead stationery and envelopes from United Press International.

— An internal church document identified as Guardian Order 1080 and dated May 3, 1975, dealing with "using suitable guise interviews," and a second, undated document entitled, "The Cover (Suitable Guises) in-person Interview."

— Other papers that appear to be related to the manufacture of false identification, including a blank certified copy of a birth certificate, an explanation of how to fill it out, a County Recorder's stamp, and an application for a Social Security number in the name of "Harold Warren Matzky" along with a document indicating that Matzky was dead.

The FBI has not provided any further details on the documents.

The church claims 4.5 million participants in 14 countries. Its annual gross income, derived mainly from training courses and a novel form of psychological counseling called auditing, has been estimated at more than $100 million. A major focus of Scientology's struggles with the federal and state governments alike has been the church's quest for tax-exempt status to shield what it acknowledges is a considerable income.

In California, a 35-year-old secretary employed in the Los Angeles office of the state attorney general is awaiting trial on a charge of stealing files concerning Scientology from the office of a deputy attorney general who authorities said was handling a tax matter relating to the church.

The secretary, Linda Polimeni of Los Angeles, was arrested last Sept. 12 after investigators told the grand jury they watched her after normal business hours copy an eight-page package of "both accurate and false information" on Scientology planted in the office of Dep. Atty. Gen. Patti Kitching. Miss Polimeni was apprehended after she allegedly took the copied papers out of the building in her purse. Investigators told the grand jury that entries in a diary she also carried in the purse linked her with Scientology, an affiliation the church has neither confirmed nor denied.

In a second California incident last January, the city of San Diego fired a police lieutenant after he admitted seeking information on behalf of the Church of Scientology concerning Meisner, the Justice Department's principal informant in the current federal prosecution of 11 Scientologists.

According to city Civil Service records, Lt. Warren M. Young "twice told a false story to FBI officers" about his reasons for inquiring whether Meisner had a criminal record. On further questioning, Young acknowledged that he was a member of the Church of Scientology and admitted that the church had asked him to inquire about Meisner the previous October.

Meisner was then being held in protective custody by federal marshals at an undisclosed location.

Beyond the allegations of burglary and bugging in the IRS and Justice Department specified in the Aug. 15 indictment, investigators believe that the Church of Scientology infiltrated the American Medical Assn. in 1975 and became the source of hundreds of embarrassing and widely publicized internal documents about the AMA's political activities.

Newspapers — led to believe that their anonymous source was a disgruntled doctor inspired by the disclosures of Watergate — dubbed the informant "Sore Throat."

But Asst. U.S. Atty. Raymond Banoun, who is in charge of the Scientology case, has said in Los Angeles federal court that documents seized by the FBI prove that "Sore Throat" was a Scientologist.

There is also evidence that the church infiltrated the Washington, D.C., offices of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, a national coordinating body, in 1974 and 1975 and planned to do so in the St. Louis Better Business Bureau. There is no indication that the St. Louis plan was carried out.

From March through August, 1975, fictitious documents circulated about the country on council stationery in a campaign purporting to show, among other things, that the national organization was in weak financial condition.

The allegations in the federal indictment have focused attention in particular on the Church of Scientology's Guardian Office, an administrative unit represented in each of the 49 churches of Scientology in 14 countries. 

The Guardian Office is responsible for public relations, external legal affairs and, according to the FBI, for intelligence and covert operations as well. (Jane Kember, the Worldwide Guardian, or chief executive of the office at the "Mother Church" in Sussex, Eng., was among the 11 indicted Aug. 15.)

In parallel with its covert responsibilities, the Guardian Office, which church spokesmen say employs about 250 staff in the 16 U.S. churches, has waged an aggressive open war against Scientology's critics and government agencies in the courts and in the press.

Additionally, under the rubric of "social reform", the Church of Scientology has organized an extensive network of subsidiary groups that seek openly to investigate government agencies and private groups that the church considers corrupt or believes have investigated it or circulated false and derogatory information about Scientology.

Bearing names such as American Citizens for Honesty in Government and the National Commission on Law Enforcement and Social Justice, these "gung ho groups," as church memoranda have called them, ally themselves with orthodox civil liberties and religious organizations but remain dominated by Scientologists, whose affiliation is not always made explicit in the groups' news releases.

During the early to middle 1960s, the practices of Scientology — both business and spiritual — were subjected to official government inquiries in Australia, New Zealand, Britain and Canada. South Africa held an inquiry in 1972. Three Australian states restricted Scientology from 1965 to 1973, and Britain has, since 1968, banned the entry of foreign nationals seeking to study Scientology.

Simultaneously, Scientology collided with the U.S. government. The Food and Drug Administration in 1963 began what was to be a 10-year legal battle with the church over charges of fraudulent medical practice.

In 1968, the IRS revoked the tax-exempt status of the Founding Church of Scientology in Washington, alleging that Hubbard was personally profiting from his worldwide organization. The "Mother Church" of Scientology in Los Angeles lost its federal exemption in 1968.

Fourteen other Scientology churches currently have tax exemptions.

Church spokesmen have said Hubbard formally resigned his responsibilities in the church in 1966, although he has continued to produce a stream of doctrinal and policy communiques in his capacity as founder and "consultant."

It was during this period of strife in the 1960s that Hubbard began to promulgate a series of policies for responding aggressively to criticism and investigation.

One such policy letter, issued Aug. 15, 1960, asserts that "only attacks resolve threats" and advises that "if attacked on some vulnerable point by anyone or anything or any organization, always find or manufacture enough threat against them to cause them to sue for peace."

A later elaboration, issued over Hubbard's name to the worldwide organization on Feb. 18, 1966, observed, "Groups that attack us are to say the least not sane. According to our technology, this means they have hidden areas and disreputable facts about them."

A week later, still another policy letter continued:

"Spot who is attacking us. Start investigating them promptly for FELONIES or worse using our own professionals, not outside agencies ... Start feeding lurid, blood sex crime actual evidence on the attackers to the press. Don't ever submit tamely to an investigation of us. Make it rough, rough on attackers all the way."
In another confidential communique to administrative personnel of the church, Hubbard drew a distinction between the gathering of intelligence on the church's antagonists and its deterrent policy of "noisily investigating" them.

"Remember, intelligence we get with a whisper. Investigation we do with a yell."

Jeffrey Dubron, one of two church spokesmen whom The Times asked to respond to these and other policy statements during 11 hours of interviews, said that in the early to middle 1960s, "little by little it began to dawn on us that we were being had. Somebody was attacking us and making it look like a spontaneous thing. And that's when we started to look at who's doing this, where it's coming from, what we could do to protect ourselves."

"We found out that the unthinkable was happening," Dubron contended. "The government of the United States of America ... was attempting to destroy our church."

On March 1, 1966, two weeks after Hubbard issued his series of attack policy statements, the Church of Scientology established its Guardian Office, encompassing intelligence, legal and investigative functions.

The scope of organizations of concern to the church in the medical and mental health field is suggested in part by a Feb. 28, 1972, letter from Hubbard that was among the materials the FBI seized from the church in Los Angeles on July 8, 1977.

The letter, addressed to an individual named Brian who is otherwise not identified, "commends" him "for operations against AMA, FDA, WFMH, NAMH, APA and George Washington University," according to an inventory of seized items the FBI filed in Los Angeles federal court.

The initials apparently represent the American Medical Assn., the Food and Drug Administration, the World Federation of Mental Health, and the National Assn. of Mental Health in Britain. The "APA" could be either the American Psychiatric Assn. or the American Psychological Assn., both of which maintain headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Officials of both the American Psychiatric Assn. and the American Psychological Assn. declined to discuss any aspect of Scientology with The Times.

According to the FBI inventory of seized materials, however, one item is a folder of 42 documents captioned, "American Psychological Association" with the added words "red box."
Asst. U.S. Atty. Banoun said in Los Angeles federal court last June, in a hearing in which the church sought to retrieve the seized materials, that other church documents held by the FBI explained that the designation "red Box" was a code the church used to signify items that could potentially incriminate Scientologists in illegal acts.

The reason for Hubbard's including George Washington University in a list of "operations" is unknown. Hubbard attended the university from 1930 to 1932, before dropping out while on probation, according to a copy of his transcript. In a publication last year, however, the church accused the department of psychiatry in the university's medical school of cooperating with the FDA in an investigation of the church.

Over the years, the American Medical Assn. has been a particular focus of criticism from Scientology. The church contends that the AMA, during the 1950s and '60s, campaigned to discredit Scientology and that the AMA is responsible for much of what is wrong with American health care.

In 1963, for example, Hubbard wrote in a widely circulated policy memorandum that:

"Certain vested interests, mainly the American Medical Association, a private healing monopoly, wish to do all possible harm to the Scientology movement over the world in order to protect their huge medical-psychiatric income and desired monopoly which runs into the tens of billions annually."

More recently, through one of its reform groups, the Committee on Public Health and Safety, the church said in 1976 that the AMA "in particular has created a virtual stranglehold on medical care through its monopolistic practices" and that the AMA has "direct responsibility for skyrocketing costs and decreasing quality of American medical care," a position that most health care analysts would find oversimplified.
In June, 1975, the AMA was deeply embarrassed by the revelation of its internal documents by "Sore Throat." The documents detailed the AMA's political activities and financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

Some of the documents dealt with the AMA's lobbying for nominees to federal appointments, and others described a secret effort on the association's part to defeat a 1970 generic drug bill that it publicly supported.
Still other material, supplied by "Sore Throat," cast doubt on the AMA's assertion of independence from the pharmaceutical industry by disclosing that 27 of the nation's drug companies had given $851,000 to the AMA's political arm between 1962 and 1965.

Spokesmen for the AMA declined to discuss this episode or any aspect of Scientology with Times reporters.
Sources intimately familiar with the episode, however, said that copies of the documents came from the AMA's Chicago and Washington, D.C., offices.

The sources said the AMA suspected involvement of the Church of Scientology — in part because a private investigator the AMA hired found two Scientologists working in the AMA's Washington office as secretaries, one under an assumed name.

In Chicago, AMA officials have acknowledged administering lie detector tests to four employees thought to have had access to the documents "Sore Throat" had disclosed.
Among those tested was a secretary named Sherry Canavarro, who had joined the AMA four months earlier to work in the office of the executive vice president.

Confidential minutes from meetings of the AMA board of directors were on one occasion found in her desk, and it was determined that she had spent four or five weekends at work with no specifically assigned task, the sources said.

The AMA refused to discuss the polygraph results beyond its August, 1975, statement in which the association said everyone passed. However, her duties were later changed, and subsequently she resigned.
In its July, 1977, affidavit the FBI said Miss Canavarro also used the names "Sherry Hermann" and "Sandy Cooper," and described her as the Pacific Secretary of the church's Guardian Office in the United States.
On her job application to the AMA, sources said, she listed her husband, Mitchell Hermann, and as a local Chicago reference, Michael Meisner's mother. Hermann, who the FBI had said directed Scientology's covert activities in Washington, D.C., from Jan. 1, 1974, through March 1, 1975, was among the 11 persons indicted by a federal grand jury Aug. 15 on charges of burglarizing government offices.

The federal grand jury indictment charged that Hermann, also known as "Mike Cooper," and two other "Scientology agents" bugged a high-level meeting of the IRS in Washington Nov. 1, 1974, in which the churches' tax- exempt status was discussed.

Church spokesmen said they thought Miss Canavarro was "on leave" from their staff and added that she was "not interested" in discussing these allegations with reporters.

No legal actions have been brought against Miss Canavarro in the matter.

"Whoever 'Sore Throat' was should get a medal," Dubron, a church spokesman, said. He added, "I don't know who that person was."

"If this person went in and lied to get a job in the AMA and exposed crimes and created change, should that person be prosecuted for his or her actions?"

The AMA disclosures prompted investigations by congressional committees, the Post Office, the Federal Election Commission and the IRS but have resulted in no prosecutions against the AMA.

Before her employment at the AMA, Miss Canavarro worked from 1972 through 1974 for the Council of Better Business Bureaus in Washington, D.C. She was assigned to the council's philanthropic advisory section, which dealt with tax exempt organizations.

Internal publications of local bureaus have in the past questioned Scientology's recruitment approaches and discussed its penchant for bringing lawsuits against critics and, on occasion, against persons seeking refunds. Sources in the council said that in 1974 Miss Canavarro persuaded officials to open their files on Scientology to her husband Mitchell.

The sources said she identified him as a freelance writer preparing a story critical of the church.
Miss Canavarro resigned from the council on Dec. 31, 1974.

The FBI inventory listed 15 seized items which relate to the Better Business Bureau. These included:

— A manila folder entitled "Operation Cut Throat" containing six documents "regarding infiltration and background information" on the St. Louis Better Business Bureau.

— A Xerox copy of a 1973 "confidential letter written on Council of Better Business Bureau letterhead."

— A "confidential report" on Scientology prepared by the Boston Better Business Bureau.

Beginning March 14, 1975, the council was subjected to the first of four anonymous, phony mailings. In one instance, a fictitious financial statement purporting to show the organization to be in weak financial condition was mailed to corporate sponsors such as Sears and Montgomery Ward and is said to have inspired a flood of inquiries but caused no evident damage to the organization.

Other mailings suggested an imminent merger with the United States Chamber of Commerce and purported to rank the performance of affiliated bureaus. An extensive internal investigation by the national council in 1975 turned up no suspects.

A source within the council said that FBI agents recently questioned council officials about Miss Canavarro and a woman who worked as secretary to the council's vice president. The FBI has told the council both were Scientologists.

The vice president's secretary came to the council March 17, 1975, three days after the first anonymous phony mailing and returned home to England in September of 1975, one month after the last mailing was circulated, the source said.

She came under suspicion as responsible for at least one of the phony mailings, the source said, because in a letter written for the council she misspelled the council's attorney's name the same way it was misspelled in one of the false mailings. No charges were brought against her.

Several European mental health organizations that clashed with Scientology in the late 1960s and the early 1970s experienced what the London Observer in a July, 1973, article called a "series of baffling mishaps" that included burglaries and anonymous mailings.

The Observer, noting the clashes between the organizations and Scientology, reported that "the whole extraordinary sequence of events remains shrouded in mystery."

"The Scientologists," the newspaper continued, "say they are as baffled as anyone."

No Scientologists were charged in connection with any of the incidents.

The World Federation of Mental Health reported in 1969 that its headquarters in Edinburgh, Scotland, had been burglarized and that a quantity of federation stationery was stolen along with a list of participants scheduled to attend an upcoming meeting in Washington, D.C.

According to press accounts, participants — prior to the meeting — received letters directing them instead to Havana, Cuba. All the attendants but one were said to have been forewarned in time; a Dutch delegate reportedly flew to Havana.

Two listings in the FBI inventory of materials seized from the church last year refer to a "16-volume file" of documents from the World Federation of Mental Health. According to the FBI, one 14-page document in the file is labeled, "'Strictly confidential' regarding the Mental Health Conference Project."

Available evidence, however, does not indicate whether these materials were among those taken from the World Federation of Mental Health in the 1969 burglary.

In June, 1973, a basement door of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in London was forced open and college offices were burglarized. A secretary, Natalie Cobbing, said the only items taken were some correspondence and a file of material on Scientology in Britain. She said it also appeared that someone had used a copying machine.

On April 22, 1973, burglars forced their way into the Dutch Center for Mental Health at Utrecht, reportedly left valuables untouched but took files pertaining to Scientology.

Justice authorities in Utrecht said that police stopped three young men in a car in a routine traffic check shortly after the break-in. The men — identified by police only as two Dutch citizens and a "foreigner" — said they were Scientologists. The missing files were on the back seat.

No charges were brought in the case, but authorities declined to say why. The board of the Dutch Center is said to have received a letter from the chief officer at the Church of Scientology in Amsterdam declaring that the theft was "contrary to our morals and our goals" and stating that the individuals involved had previously been expelled from the church.

Possibly the most acrimonious clash between Scientology and medicine occurred in Britain in the late 1960s in the form of a bitter attack on the National Assn. of Mental Health, a professional organization the church blamed in part for a 1968 ban the British government placed on the entry of foreign nationals seeking to study Scientology.

The church attacked the association and its officers publicly, charging that it operated "psychiatric death camps." At one point, the association has said, its public relations director received a letter from the Church of Scientology's chief public relations officer that began:

"Dear opposite number. How does it feel to be hit? The public sentiment against psychiatry has been bad for years. Lately it has worsened. I have a good idea that it will get much worse. Raping women patients, murdering inmates, castrating men, committing without real process of law — the psychiatrist has been a very bad boy."

The church's public relations directory, David Gaiman, led a mass effort by Scientology to join the association in late 1969.

In one two-week period in November, 1969, the association was flooded with 215 membership applications, or roughly 20 times the normal number.

Many of the applications contained postal money orders (for application fees) with consecutive serial numbers and bore identifying marks of a single post office around the corner from a Scientology bookstore, the association told a British court.

In March, 1970, the court held the membership applications from the Scientologists could be rejected because of the detrimental effect it could have on the association's ability to receive funds from foundations and others.

In June, 1972, the association was the target of an unsigned leaflet, circulated to its 2,000 members, purportedly from a disgruntled doctor, derogating the association's director and alleging squalid conditions at three centers the association ran for adolescents.

In parallel with the covert activities that federal authorities ascribe to it, the Church's Guardian Office directs Scientology's open endeavors in the field of social reform.

"Social reform has always been a routine activity of religious movements," a new publication of the church observes. "The American cleric has traditionally been in the fore of social change."

The church's internal policy directives, however, offer a different perspective, discussing social reform activities primarily in the context of defending the church by attacking its critics publicly.

Moreover, a literal reading of Hubbard's thoughts suggests that he also views social reform as a means by which the church might gain recognition as a religion in the eyes of the public.

"Remember," Hubbard wrote in a 1966 policy order, "churches are looked upon as reform groups. 

Therefore we must act like a reform group."

He continued:

"The way to seize the initiative is to use our own professionals to investigate intensively parts of the society that may attack us. Get an ammunition locker full. Be sure of our facts. And then expose via the press.
"If we do this right, the press, instead of trying to invent reasons to attack us, will start hanging around waiting for our next lurid scoop. We must convert from an attacked group to a reform group that attacks rotten spots in society."

Hubbard concluded:

"We should not limit ourselves to mental healing or our own line. We should look for zones to investigate and blow the lid off and become known as a mighty reform group. We object to slavery, oppression, torture, murder, perversion, crime, political sin, and anything that makes man unfree."

Since the late 1960s, the Church of Scientology has established at least 10 social reform groups in the United States alone, most of which — though not all — are devoted either to investigating government agencies that have attacked Scientology or to exploring the flaws of Scientology's original nemesis, the mental health professions.

Two exceptions to this investigative emphasis are the church's Apple School, which applies the principles of Scientology to elementary education, and Narconon, a nominally independent organization begun in 1966 to aid drug addicts and convicts. According to a recent church publication describing the duties of the Guardian Office, "Narconon utilizes the rehabilitation methods developed by American humanitarian and educator L. Ron Hubbard."

Narconon has been praised in some cities and criticized in others. The Los Angeles City Council commended Narconon in a March, 1974, resolution as "remarkably successful." The Palo Alto City Council canceled its $38,000 contract with Narconon in January, 1977, citing as its reason a lack of community representation on the Narconon board of directors. City officials had also complained about Narconon's refusal to grant access to its files and questioned its effectiveness.

On the basis of a thick collection of newspaper clippings the church has compiled, the Scientology reform group that seems to have caught the widest press and public attention is the National Commission on Law Enforcement and Social Justice, which has been looking into the international police organization Interpol.

The commission has unearthed and widely publicized evidence that the Vienna- and Berlin-based organization, not surprisingly, was dominated by Nazis in the late 1930s and during World War II — and also that Interpol's president from 1968 to 1972 had served in the Nazi SS.

The commission also surveyed police officials across the United States and from Thailand to Israel, by mail, and concluded that in contrast to its romantic image Interpol is mainly a clerical clearinghouse for police information and is widely held in low esteem.

The accuracy of the church's information has not, for the most part, been questioned. But its motivations and methods are open to debate.

Kenneth J. Whitman, president of the Church of Scientology of California and the worldwide organization's chief U.S. spokesman, acknowledges that its investigation began after Interpol offended the church by "spreading false information about us in Germany ... We started to investigate because we assumed it was happening to more than us."

Copies of correspondence the church mailed out as part of its survey, and subsequently made public, fail to identify the church as the sponsoring organization of the NCLE. The letters also say nothing to indicate that the "National Commission" is a private, not governmental, body.

The importance the church placed on ferreting out information on Interpol appears to be signified in a secret "Guardian Programme Order" dated June 27, 1995, from Scientology headquarters in Sussex, Eng., the grand jury said in its indictment Aug. 15.

The indictment said the order directs that Interpol documents relating to Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard "be obtained through infiltration of, or the placing of 'clandestine agents' in, the Interpol offices" of the U.S. Treasury Department.

The FBI alleged in an affidavit that church operatives ultimately succeeded in stealing Interpol documents kept by the Justice Department.

A further connection between the church's covert activities and its social reform groups is evidenced in a variety of secret church Guardian orders dealing with a covert program code-named "Snow White."

Government authorities have alleged that "Snow White" denoted a covert campaign by the church to infiltrate the IRS, in part to gain advantage in its quest for tax exemption.

According to a "Guardian Programme Order" dated March 27, 1976, the mission of Snow White also encompassed the purging of "false and secret files" relating to Scientology in government agencies and thereby to permit Hubbard and his flagship Apollo greater freedom of movement among the ports of the world.

The order contains no reference to social reform.

Last April, nine months after the FBI had seized church papers that included secret Snow White program orders, the church turned its covert operation into a social reform group. A church news release on April 29 announced that Snow White would be transformed into a nationwide organization called American Citizens for Honesty in Government.

In the news release, national church spokesman Arthur J. Maren said Snow White's purpose is and always has been "political reform" and "defense of individual liberty."

It had been kept confidential, Maren said, "as we didn't want to embarrass government officials."
One of American Citizens' first publications is a cartoon booklet reviewing congressional inquiries into improprieties of U.S. intelligence agencies. It bears the title, "Nightmare USA: What U.S. Government Agencies have Done to the American Dream."

The church's spokesmen argue that the means and motivations of Scientology's social reform efforts are of secondary importance — that launching an investigation in self-defense does not preclude objective analysis.

"We have a duty to defend ourselves," spokesman Jeffrey Dubron says. "But we are a religion, and we have a duty to others as well ... If our motives had been purely self-serving, they would have manifested themselves that way.

"I'm happy to let the work and product of our social reform movement stand on its own merits."

Scientology's system "hacker proof"
Date: Wednesday, 27 August 1997
Author: Robert Vaughn Young
Main source: link (8.3 KiB)

(To be included in OSA US DR re RVY)

INCOMM was created to be the computer data base for Scientology. Foster Thompkins was put in charge of the setup. It was to serve as a repository for all LRH writings so they could be word searched. (That was "SIR" or Source Information Retrieval). Routing forms were to go into the computer base. Time machine programs were to run the programs, automatically ordering the person to do the step. And there was email. (Financial records and other were to be added later, he said.)

But what Foster was especially proud of when INCOMM was being established in early 1982 was the security to make it impossible for unauthorized access.

Foster said there were basically three elements that INCOMM was to be protected against. The first was internal personnel gaining unauthorized access to files or mail.

The second was external hackers. For a long time this was to not be a problem as there was no modem hookup. There was no way one could dial into the INCOMM data base. But Foster knew it would come and various firewalls had to be put into place to ensure that no hacker could gain entry. He promised INCOMM would be "hacker proof." "The CIA will be easier to get into than us," he told me. (Some initial off-site connections were made via microwave and, he said, a double encryption process.)

The third was fascinating. INCOMM was located in the room where the old Intelligence Bureau had been when it was raided in 1977. It was on the ground (and slightly sub-ground) floor under the front of the Cedars complex. There were no windows. Access was only through several specially secured doors.

Knowing of the 1977 raid and to prevent it from happening again, there was one person in charge of the entire system who sat at the back of this huge room, behind locked doors and secured glass. Knowing that in the event of a raid the power might be turned off, INCOMM had backup battery systems and generators whose sole purpose was to keep the system on line long enough for the systems operator to crash and trash it. The only entrance was not only secured but had TV cameras so that, Foster figured, that even with the highest speed of a raid, the systems operator had more than enough time to crash/trash the system to prevent it from being confiscated.

Apparently the first time a "crash/trash" was done was in 1985. Scientology staff arrived one morning and found they had no computer files. INCOMM said there was a "crash" but what happened was that a rumor of an impending IRS raid had caused them to delete all files. There was no raid and despite the pleas of many, the files were NOT restored.

They could have restored the files. Foster had initiated twice daily backups of the entire system. These were to be taken off-site to a confidential location by a secured courier, with only a few people knowing that location.

All of this was why INCOMM prided itself on being uncrackable.

Robert Vaughn Young writer@eskimo.com

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