Church kept 'enemies list'

Raid on Scientologists netted CIA documents

by John Picton

May 17, 1978

WASHINGTON - Secret documents from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency were discovered when offices of the Church of Scientology in the United States were raided by federal agents last year, according to reports published here yesterday.

The reports said that apparently original Internal Revenue Service documents were found during the raids, as well as confidential letters between members of the U.S. Cabinet.

Also, it was discovered the church kept an enemies list, which included files on Senator Edward Kennedy, Jacqueline Onassis, five federal judges (including John Sirica of Watergate fame), the U.S. Better Business Bureau and the American Medical Association.

These details, according to The Washington Post, have been summarized in a 525-page inventory filed in court by the U.S. Government in an action involving the church.

The inventory has been compiled from documents seized under subpoena when investigators searched church offices in Washington and Los Angeles last summer.

Seized, too, were a lockpicking kit, electronic eavesdropping equipment, two .22-calibre pistols and a leather blackjack.

According to a Government affidavit, the reports said, top Scientology officials were aware of and participated in a campaign to silence critics of Scientology.

Among them was the head of the church's Guardian Office, which was said to be responsible for conducting covert operations to acquire Government documents and to discredit and remove from positions of power all persons whom the church considers to be its enemies.

Scientology , founded in the late 1940s by L. Ron Hubbard, claims to be a religion in which people are cleared of troubling experiences in sessions with counsellors.

Fees for the sessions and courses in the movement's philosophy can cost thousands of collars.

Following last year's raids, its leaders claimed the church has broken no laws and that it was a victim of a Government conspiracy to destroy it.

They said Government documents in its possession were obtained legally under the Freedom of Information Act.

Some of the documents were marked FOIA, investigators said. Others were marked non-FOIA.

The reports said that some of the seized documents indicated that church members staged a fake hit-and-run accident in Washington in an attempt to compromise a visiting Florida mayor who had opposed the Scientologists in his community.

They also said the church had forged an embarrassing news story under the name of a Florida reporter to discredit him, and had faked a bomb threat to frame the author of a book critical of Scientology.

Information was gathered on the personal habits and courtroom conduct of U.S. judges, several of whom are said to have handled some aspect of cases brought by or against the church.

The reports said some of the information was obtained from the judges' private files. Other information came from interviews in which Scientologists masqueraded as students or reporters, a tactic that church documents referred to as suitable guise interviews.

U.S. Government interest in Scientology files was heightened last year when Michael Meisner, a high-ranking official in the church, began telling Federal Bureau of Investigation officials about covert activities being conducted by Scientologists.

Mr. Meisner had been sought by the FBI in connection with his alleged illegal entry into the U.S. District Courthouse in Washington.

He since has become a key Government witness and is being held in protective custody.