Understanding Scientology, by Margery Wakefield - Next - Previous

Chapter 12

OSA (Office of Special Affairs) -- The Secret CIA of Scientology

Remember one thing, we are not running a business, we are running a government. We are in direct control of people's lives.
-- L. Ron Hubbard, Policy letter of 5 August 1959

By the mid-1960s, Scientology was a religion under siege. In the U.S., the Church had been raided by the F.D.A. In England, Scientology was being investigated by Parliament and St. Hill students lived in danger of being deported. The Australian Inquiry was underway and there were tremors from South Africa. Hubbard had been deported from Rhodesia and was under constant F.B.I. surveillance at St. Hill.

Predisposed to paranoia, Hubbard was not one to remain on the defensive for long. "Don't ever defend, always attack," he wrote. "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...." (1)

Evidence of the war mentality promoted by Hubbard and highly contagious within Scientology is a policy written by Hubbard called The War, in which he announced:

You may not realize it ... but there is only one small group that has hammered Dianetics and Scientology for eighteen years. The press attacks, the public upsets you receive ... were generated by this one group. Last year we isolated a dozen men at the top. This year we found the organization these used and all its connections over the world.... (2)

Hubbard claimed that a group of twelve men associated with the World Bank had set up psychiatry and the mental health movement as a vehicle to undermine and destroy the West. And this twelve-man conspiracy was the real source of all opposition to Scientology.

In February of 1966, Lord Balniel of the English House of Commons called for an investigation into Scientology. Hubbard responded by setting up the Public Investigation Section at St. Hill for the purposes of "helping LRH (Hubbard) investigate public matters and individuals which seem to impede human liberty," and to "furnish intelligence." (3)

By the late 60s, the Public Investigation Section had evolved into the "Guardian's Office," a separate and unique agency within Scientology which became Hubbard's private intelligence bureau, a private CIA within the "Church."

Hubbard appointed his wife, Mary Sue, as "Comptroller" or head of the newly formed Guardian's Office, which was headquartered at St. Hill.

The Guardian's Office had six bureaus:

  1. Legal, which handled litigation involving Scientology;

  2. Public Relations, and media relations;

  3. Information, including the controversial Overt and Covert Data Collection and Operations Sections;

  4. Social Coordination, establishing the many Scientology "front organizations";

  5. Service, for training G.O. staff members; and

  6. Finance.

Branch One of the Information Bureau, called "B-1," was the real nerve center of the G.O., where files were maintained on all Scientologists, as well as on every perceived "enemy" of the organization.

Illegal as well as legal means of obtaining information were sanctioned. In a Scientology policy called Re: Intelligence, the following are given as possibilities for collecting data:


In discussing the criminal policies of the Guardian's Office, it is important to remember the frame of reference from which Scientologists operate and from which these policies were conceived.

From a Scientology perspective, the world is in great danger of nuclear extinction, and Scientology exists as the only deterrent to this terrible inevitability.

To a Scientologist, Scientology is the elite organization on this planet, superior to all other earth organizations. The Scientology system of ethics, based on the "greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics," is therefore superior to any system of "wog" law.

Transgressions of "wog" law necessary to further the ends of Scientology are sanctioned on the basis of the "greatest good." In this way, lying, stealing, burgling and a host of other crimes become justified as means to the end of saving mankind.

Shielded by this philosophy, Scientologists have, over the years, been involved in a staggering array of crimes most unbecoming to members of a church.

It is a fact that Scientologists, particularly members of the G.O., are trained to lie. In a policy called Intelligence Specialist Training Routine -- TR-L (which stands for Training Routine Lie), the student is trained "to outflow false data effectively."

In the drill, the student has to tell a lie, which is then challenged by a coach, who works with the student until the student becomes able to "lie facily."

The ability to lie convincingly is used by the Scientologist in a variety of situations, including the giving of courtroom testimony. A Scientologist feels no obligation to be truthful in a "wog" court, even under oath. Again, this is because the Scientologist is operating under a higher law, that of the "greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics."

Another Scientology policy contains a series of Drills used to train G.O. agents. The student has to choose the best of several alternative solutions:

A. General scene: person to restrain/remove Mr. Jones, employee in local government agency attacking the Org.

  1. Order hundreds of dollars worth of liquor in Jones' name and have it delivered to his home to cause him trouble and make the liquor store owner dislike him.
  2. Call up Jones' boss and accuse Jones of being a homosexual.
  3. Send Jones' boss evidence of Jones accepting bribes on his job, with copies to police and local FBI.

B. General scene: a psychiatrist who has instigated attacks on the Org via police and press.

  1. Expose his Nazi background to the press with evidence that he still attends local Nazi meetings.
  2. Wake him up every night by calling him on the phone and threatening him.
  3. Send a Field Staff Member in to be a patient of his for a year to disperse the psych during sessions.

C. General scene: a newspaper executive Clyde McDonald who's behind local attacks.

  1. Poison him while he's asleep so he'll never start another attack.
  2. Make known to the paper's owner that McDonald is responsible for the paper's decreasing advertising revenues.
  3. Spread a rumor around to the paper's employees that McDonald is a Communist.
  4. Put itching powder in McDonald's clothes so he'll scratch himself all day, thus preventing him from writing a story.

And, if these plans seem farfetched, an example of a Scientology "operation" actually carried out is the one against Paulette Cooper, who in 1971 wrote a book critical of Scientology.

In church documents labelled "Operation PC (Paulette Cooper) Freakout," various scenarios were listed. In one scenario, a Scientologist impersonating Cooper was to make threatening phone calls to an Arab consulate. Another plan was to mail a threatening letter to the same consulate, or to make a bomb threat against them.

In still another plot, a Scientologist impersonating Cooper would go to a laundromat and threaten to kill then-President Nixon or Henry Kissinger. Yet another plan was to get Paulette's fingerprints on a piece of paper, then type a bomb threat to Kissinger on the paper and mail it.

Something very similar to this was, in fact, carried out. G.O. agents succeeded in getting Paulette's fingerprints on some stationery, then used the stationery to make bomb threats against the Church. Cooper was indicted on three counts of making bomb threats, and faced fifteen years in jail before she cleared herself by taking a sodium pentothal test.

Cooper was completely exonerated only when the F.B.I., in their 1977 raid of the G.O. offices in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, California, uncovered documents which detailed the church's plans to frame her.

Paulette Cooper's situation is not unique. Many people who have incurred the wrath of the Church of Scientology have found to what extent Scientologists are prepared to go in fighting "the enemy."

In one case, a woman found thousands of worms thrown at her front door. Defectors have been harassed by church agents spreading lies about them to employers or neighbors. Endless frivolous lawsuits have been launched. In one case, Boston attorney Michael Flynn narrowly avoided a crash when water was put in the gas tank of his private plane. This occurred at a time when he was representing several litigants against the "church."

The F.B.I. raids brought to light many of the written policies used to train G.O. members in criminal activities. One such policy is Security and Theft of Materials which contains the following quotes:

The first step in any breaking and entering job is casing. This consists of checking out the area to ascertain the possibilities for breaking into the premises....

Professionals at all times wear gloves during an operation. This prevents fingerprints being left behind by which the agents could be traced....

One trick used by professionals is ... a series of cover stories are mocked up (invented) to cover each stage of the operation in the event that the operation is blown at any point.

If you are picked up by the police, don't say anything more than you are required to by law, which is usually your name and address....

Additionally, any agent working on such operations would have nothing in his possession that connected him with the organization (Scientology)....

And so forth. An interesting policy letter for a church!

Another G.O. policy called The Strike, defines a strike as "the action of gathering information on a covert basis, performed by one or more agents." An example of a strike actually carried out by the church was breaking into the IRS offices in Washington, D.C. and photocopying all files related to Scientology.

A policy called Walk-ins gives more detailed instructions for breaking and entering. Instructions are given in this policy for various aspects of burglarizing an office building: how to break into a locked xerox machine, how to break into a locked door using a credit card, how to fashion a metal tool for breaking into a lock, how to use a strand of wire to break into a lock, how to break into a combination lock, etc.

This policy comes complete with illustrations.

In a policy called B & E's (breaking and entering), the writer comments that "some of our most successful collections actions fall into this category." A good G.O. agent is also trained to bug and debug telephones in the policy called Re: Debugging. This policy, also illustrated, gives techniques for bugging and debugging phones, describes the four common types of bugs used, and explains the difference between a "bug" and a "tap" and how to deal with each.

Most Scientologists are unaware that their supposedly confidential auditing files are forwarded to the G.O. where, should they defect from the organization, the folders will be systematically culled for information which can be used to intimidate or blackmail them.

Most Scientologists are unaware of G.O. policy #121669 called Programme: Intelligence: Internal Security, which states:

Operating Targets: To make full use of all files of the organization to affect your major target. These include personnel files, Ethics files, training files, processing files and requests for refunds....

The fact that a person's auditing or processing files may contain sensitive personal information given to an auditor under assurances of confidentiality is reflected in some of the reports generated by the G.O. from these folders.

In one such report, information gathered on a disaffected Scientologist includes:

While at the (Scientology org) she was promiscuous. She slept with four or five men during the course, two of them on the org premises. She has quite a record of promiscuity.... With three male preclears, she let them touch her genitals during sessions.... She has masturbated regularly since she was eight years old, mentions doing it once with coffee grounds and once had a puppy lick her....

Another such report includes the names of the person's children and the items:

Several self-induced abortions. Saw a psych due to alcoholism problems. Drug history: Librium, Valium, LSD, opium, heroin. Son is in jail, etc.

In 1973, Hubbard authored a plan for the G.O. called "Snow White," instructing the G.O. to gain access to all federal agencies to obtain their files on Scientology. The name of this operation derived from Hubbard's opinion that once these agencies had their files "cleaned," they would be "snow white."

Infiltrating, or "penetrating," these agencies was achieved by having a Scientology agent obtain employment at an agency, then use his credentials to gain access to desired materials in the agency's files.

A report called Compliance Report lists 136 such agencies targeted for penetration, prioritized by a star system, i.e., * low priority, ** higher priority, and *** highest priority. Some of the *** agencies listed in this report are: the AEC, the CIA, the FBI, the FTC, the FDA, the IRS, the NSA, the US Air Force, the US Army, the US Attorney General, the DEA, the US Coast Guard, the US Department of Justice, the US Department of Labor, the US Department of State, the US Department of Treasury, the US House of Representatives, the US Department of Immigration and Naturalization, the US Marshall's Office, the US Navy, the US Post Office, the US Selective Service, and the US Senate.

In this report, several agencies, such as the IRS, the DEA, the US Coast Guard, and the US Department of Labor are marked: "Done."

Another policy called Safe U.S. details plans to get agents into the US Attorney's offices in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, into the IRS Office of International Operations, into the headquarters of the AMA, and into various state and local district attorneys' offices.

In a policy concerning the World Federation of Mental Health called Compliance Report GO#121569, the writer states that: "everything possible was done to collect the data, everything from infiltrating to stealing to eavesdropping, etc."

The G.O. used a complex system of coding, especially in any written communications involving criminal or illegal activities. In policies such as The Correct Use of Codes and Re: Coding/Wording of Messages, G.O. staff members are instructed to code the following:

Incriminating, undercover activities and the like, such as violations of our status as a tax exempt non-profit organization; subversive activities; covert operations; and money deals that might provoke government tax offices....

Things that we want unknown as connected to the Church of Scientology, i.e., secret front groups;

Words that would dispute the fact that the Church of Scientology's motives are humanitarian, i.e., harass, eradicate, attack, destroy, annihilate, entrapment...

Admission to unpunished crimes and/or incriminating data;

Mentions or the ordering of a B & E (breaking and entering);

Implications of posing as a government agent;

Evidence of tapping phone lines or illegal taping of conversations;

Mentions of harassment;

Any evidence of bribery;

Wordings like "let's wipe him out";


Another set of G.O. policies has to do with disposing of incriminating documents quickly should the org be raided by the FBI or other government agency.

One policy describes a system known in the G.O. as the "Red Box." This policy gives instructions for keeping all G.O. documents related to incriminating activities in a special folder or briefcase called the "red box" that can be quickly destroyed in case of a raid.

Another policy called Basic and Essential Security instructs the G.O. staff member to be able destroy all such incriminating material within 30-60 seconds. "Destruction by fire is usually most thorough and practical. Probably the easiest and least expensive method is to purchase a metal container, some lighter fluid and have matches on hand...."

Especially illuminating is the course checksheet for the "Information Full Hat," the course used to train G.O. agents. Included on this course are the following:

To read a book on brainwashing;

To be able to define the following words: Spy; Spying; Agent; Operative; Information; Intelligence; Espionage; Counter espionage; Counter intelligence; Fascism; Socialism; Communism; CIA; FBI; MI6; MI5; KGB; GRU.

To write an essay on: What could happen if Intelligence was not anonymous or elusive;

To read the following policy letters written by Hubbard:

"Terror Stalks"
"Communism and Scientology"
"The War"
"PDH" (Pain, Drugs, Hypnosis)
"The Art of Building a Cover"
"Covert Operations I"
"Covert Operations II"
"Black PR"
"Secret, Notes on SMERSH"

Other books read on the course include: The Spy and His Master; KGB; CIA and the Cult of Intelligence; Psychological Warfare Against Nazi Germany; and The Art of War, by Sun Tzu.

A sample of the hundreds of drills on this course:

Demo a covert operation on an opponent which restrains him and the beneficial result.

Demo why it is important to know your public's hate and love buttons when running an operation on an enemy.

Write an essay on what you would do if while running operations on an opponent, the opponent begins to run a black propaganda campaign on you.

Write up an operation in which the agent carrying out the operation would need a pretty good cover.

Demo how knowing the enemy makes for a better operation than being ignorant of the enemy.

Also included on this checksheet is TR-L (training routine lie).

Again, an interesting course for a "church"!

Unquestionably the most spectacular "operations" carried out by G.O. agents were those connected to "Operation Snow White," in which scores of government offices were burglarized in an attempt to retrieve every government file on Scientology. These operations resulted in some 30,000 government documents being either copied or stolen. Unfortunately for the Scientologists, they also resulted in the arrest and imprisonment of eleven Scientologists, including Hubbard's wife.

Michael Meisner, as Assistant Guardian for the Bureau of Information, was chosen to supervise this operation.

He selected a G.O. staff member, Gerald Wolfe, to infiltrate the IRS in Washington, D.C. Wolfe, codenamed "Silver," was hired as a clerk typist with the I.R.S. in May of 1975.

From May of 1975 until June of 1976, Wolfe and Meisner, using Wolfe's ID card as well as five forged ID cards, burglarized offices of the IRS Chief Counsel, several IRS attorneys, the IRS Exemptions Office, the Tax Division of the U.S. Justice Department, the Deputy General of the U.S., the IRS Office of Intelligence Operations, the Department of Justice Information and Privacy Unit, and the Interpol Liaison Office.

Meisner and Wolfe were able to pull off their astonishingly successful burglaries for over a year, until a suspicious library clerk alerted the authorities. In June of 1976, Wolfe was caught by the FBI with one of the forged ID cards, for which he was arrested and prosecuted. Meisner managed to flee prosecution for a year, during which time he was held prisoner by the G.O., until he managed to escape and defected to the FBI.

A month after Meisner's defection, the FBI launched surprise raids against the G.O. offices in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, seizing thousands of documents, including most of those previously stolen from the government offices.

As a result of the evidence obtained in the raids, eleven G.O. officials were indicted, and nine of the eleven served prison sentences ranging from six months to five years.

Mary Sue Hubbard, as head of the G.O., was fined $10,000 and given a five year prison sentence for her part in the illegal operations. Although she pleaded for leniency, she was told by the judge:

We have a precious system of government in the United States.... For anyone to use those laws, or to seek under the guise of those laws, to destroy the very foundation of the government is totally wrong and cannot be condoned by any responsible citizen. (4)

Mary Sue Hubbard reported to Federal Correctional Institution in Lexington, Kentucky, where she served one year of her term before being released. Shortly after her release from prison, she was ousted from her position as head of the Guardian's Office by the new leadership of the church Her present whereabouts remain unknown.

The Guardian's Office was renamed the "Office of Special Affairs" by the new church leadership in the mid-1980s, in an effort to shed the tarnished image of the G.O. But, like the tiger unable to change its stripes, OSA is simply the old G.O. with a new name.

Strange activities for a church?

True, not every church comes with its own information and intelligence agency, illustrated instructions for burglary, espionage training, and its own corps of highly trained secret agents.

It is the siege mentality of Scientology, the idea of "us" against "them," that helps to maintain a high degree of unity within the cult.

The G.O. was formed to deal with the many real and perceived "enemies" of Scientology. This enemy mentality in Scientology was born from the paranoid lobes of Hubbard's mind.

And it is this mentality which makes the G.O., and now OSA, the danger that it is.


  1. Miller, p. 241
  2. Ibid, p. 219
  3. Ibid, p. 254
  4. Ibid, p. 364

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