FBI Domestic Intelligence Activities

COINTELPRO Revisited - "A Rough, Tough, Dirty Business"

     Omar V. Garrison
     Playing Dirty
     The Secret War against Beliefs
     Ralston-Pilot, INC., Publishers
     Los Angeles
     Copyright ©1980 by Omar V. Garrison
     ISBN 0-931116-04-X
   Page 53-73
                                  Chapter 3.
"A Rough, Tough, Dirty Business"

   SOMETIME during the night of March 8, 1971, a person or persons
   unknown broke into the FBI resident agency in Media, Pennsylvania. The
   loot taken by the burglars consisted of confidential files on
   individuals and organizations that apparently had been targ eted by
   the Bureau for surveillance and harassment.
   The purloined dossiers were delivered anonymously to the
   sensation-hungry media, where they were given wide circulation. Among
   the documents were some which carried the designation Cointelpro, a
   term which, until that time, was unknown outside the FBI. The acronym,
   which, it turned out, was an abbreviation for Counterintelligence
   Program, aroused the interest of an alert newsman (Carl Stern of NBC),
   who filed a Freedom of Information lawsuit to compel the FBI to
   release other documents compiled in the cours e of the Bureau's
   Cointelpro operations.
   Caught in the glare of publicity, the FBI announced that for "security
   reasons" it was terminating the Program as of April 27, 1971. The
   action came a decade and a half too late. Documents pried loose from
   the Bureau in freedom-of-information suits disclos ed what the
   Washington Post accurately described as "an incredible pattern of
   abuse," extending back over a period of 15 years.
   The FBI's covert action - i.e., "dirty tricks" - programmes against
   American citizens were, in fact, vigilante operations using techniques
   adopted outright from wartime counterintelligence capers directed
   against enemy agents and saboteurs. Hence the misno mer given the
   Describing the kind of operations which had been used against foreign
   intelligence agents, and later transferred to domestic targets, former
   assistant FBI Director William C. Sullivan told the Senate Select
   "This is a rough, tough, dirty business, and dangerous ... No holds
   were barred."
   The "dirty business" included unauthorized bugging and wiretapping;
   mail opening; warrantless break-ins ("black bag jobs"); anonymously
   mailing reprints of newspaper and magazine articles (some of them
   planted in the press by the Bureau itself); disseminat ing defamatory
   information regarding individuals, much of it false; encouraging
   street warfare between violence-prone groups; contacting an employee
   with derogatory information about a person to get the target fired;
   using the IRS to harass individuals an d organizations by audit; and
   so on.
   As one newspaper writer put it, "almost nothing - beyond lack of
   imagination - appears to have limited the range of dirty tricks' used
   by the FBI . . ."
   The explanation offered by the Bureau for its illegal acts was that
   the agency found them to be necessary to protect national security (a
   catch-all pleading invoked by all federal agencies to justify their
   lawless conduct); and to prevent violence.
   That too facile a rationale runs aground, however, on two facts: the
   FBI targeted groups and individuals which did not remotely pose a
   threat to national security; and many of the Cointelpro victims were
   non-violent in both word and deed.
   In the programme's later phases, it became clear that it was being
   used against persons and organizations whose beliefs were repugnant to
   the Bureau. In short, Cointelpro was J. Edgar Hoover's secret war
   against what he considered "dangerous" ideas, or som etimes against
   individuals who were unpopular with his friends and supporters.
   What conceivable threat to national security or potential for
   violence, for instance, was involved in the Cointelpro operation in
   which the Bureau wrote an anonymous letter to the parents of a
   Michigan State University co-ed, telling them that their daughter er had
   "a serious infection," implying that she had contracted a venereal
   Or, the instance in which FBI agents in Madison, Wisconsin "fingered"
   for Dane County police a co-ed who danced nude in a production of
   Peter Pan, because they didn't like her political views? (The
   memorandum covering the op notes with satisfaction: "Local charges
   were brought against her.")
   Of the 2,370 approved COINTELPRO programmes that have been disclosed so
   far, perhaps the saddest and most disgraceful of all was the operation
   against the film actress jean Seberg.
   Documents obtained from the FBI under the Freedom of Information Act
   reveal that in 1970, agents in the Bureau's Los Angeles Division, with
   the approval of Washington headquarters, concocted a scheme to ruin
   her reputation by spreading a rumor that she was pregnant by a Black
   Panther leader.
   At the time, Seberg was married to French Diplomat Romain Gary.
   The plot was initiated by the Special Agent in charge of the FBI Los
   Angeles office with a request, dated April 27,1970 and submitted to
   the Director in Washington. It read:
   "Bureau permission is requested to publicize the pregnancy of Jean
   Seberg, well-known movie actress by (name deleted) Black Panther (BPP)
   (deleted) by advising Hollywood "Gossip-Columnists" in the Los Angeles
   area of the situation. It is felt that the poss ible publication of
   Seberg's plight could cause her embarrassment and serve to cheapen her
   image with the general public.
   " 'It is proposed that the following letter from a fictitious person
   be sent to local columnists:
   "I was just thinking about you and remembered I still owe you a favor.
   So ---- I was in Paris last week and ran into Jean Seberg, who was
   heavy with baby. I thought she and Romaine [sic] had gotten together
   again, but she confided the child belonged to (de letted) of the Black
   Panthers, one (deleted). The dear girl is getting around!
   " 'Anyway, I thought you might get a scoop on the others. Be good and
   I'll see you soon.
                                  " 'Sol.,
   "Usual precautions would be taken by the Los Angeles Division to
   preclude identification of the Bureau as the source of the letter if
   approval is granted."
   The agent making this proposal signed the document with his initials,
   RWH. It was approved by Ms superiors, WGG and RMB. While the FBI has
   refused to identify these agents, according to a source close to the
   activity, the originator of the memorandum was R Richard Wallace Held,
   later promoted to the job of Inspector with the Bureau in Washington.
   The same informant identified the special agent in charge as Wesley G.
   Grapp, now retired; and RMB as Richard M. Bloesser, also retired, but
   then a supervisor over S quad #2 in the Los Angeles office.
   On information and belief (as the lawyers say) the Black Panther
   leader named in the proposition was Raymond (Masia) Hewit. In a
   separate op, the FBI falsely identified him as an undercover informant
   for the agency. The official letter was planted in his c ar with the
   expectation that one of his fellow Panthers would find it and assault
   Days later, approval for the project came from the FBI headquarters in
   Washington. The memorandum contained a note of caution.
   "To protect the sensitive source of information from possible
   compromise and to insure the success of your plan, Bureau feels it
   would be better to wait approximately two additional months until
   Seberg's pregnancy would be obvious to everyone."
   The headquarters memorandum also added this note:
   "Jean Seberg has been a financial supporter of the BBP and should be
   neutralized. Her current pregnancy by (name deleted) while still
   married affords an opportunity for such effort. "
   In terms of circulation, the FBI's black propaganda effort met with
   notable success. On May 19, 1970, Los Angeles Times keyhole columnist
   Joyce Haber included the defamatory tidbit in her day's reportage.
   Haber's effusion was thereafter picked up and repri nted by Newsweek
   magazine, the American Weekly, and a French publication called Minute.
   The actress' French husband said that soon after reading the false
   stories, his wife, who was then in the seventh month of her
   pregnancy'; had to be hospitalized. Three days later, she went into
   labor and gave birth to a stillborn child, a white female.
   The infant was placed in an open casket so that those who may have
   believed the cruel canard could view the truth in its most tragic
   Romain Gary affirmed that he was the child's father, and said that the
   shock of losing the child made the actress become psychotic. Every
   year, on the anniversary of the incident, she attempted suicide.
   Finally, on September 10, 1979, the denouement of the harrowing events
   set in motion by the FBI, occurred. Jean Seberg died in the back seat
   of her car in Paris, of an overdose of barbituates.
   Gary tersely delivered the last summary of the case:
   "Jean Seberg was destroyed by the FBI."
   In a face-saving editorial, the Los Angeles Times deeply regretted
   that that newspaper had carried the calumny, but took consolation in a
   statement issued by FBI Director William H. Webster, to wit:
   "The days when the FBI used derogatory information to combat advocates
   of unpopular causes have long since passed. We are out of that
   business forever."
   No such consolation is to be found, however, in the final report of
   the Senate Select Committee which investigated the Cointel operations.
   The committee concluded:
   "Cointelpro activities may continue today under the rubric of
   "The word 'counterintelligence' had no fixed meaning even before the
   programs were terminated. The Bureau witnesses agreed that there is a
   large gray area between 'counterintelligence' and 'aggressive
   investigation,' and that headquarters supervisors somet imes had
   difficulty in deciding which should go on certain proposals.
   "Aggressive investigation continues, and may be more disruptive than
   covert action. An anonymous letter (Cointelpro) can be ignored as the
   work of a crank; an overt approach by the Bureau ('investigation') is
   not so easily dismissed. The line between infor mation collection and
   harrassment can be extremely thin." (Emphasis added.)
   The Committee also notes that the memorandum officially terminating
   the Cointel programmes contained a slippery proviso, which read:
   "In exceptional circumstances where it is considered
   counterintelligence [Cointel] action is warranted, recommendations
   should be submitted to the Bureau under individual case caption to
   which it pertains. These recommendations will be considered on an ind
   ividual basis."
   What this meant, quite simply, was that in future, Cointelpro-type
   operations would be buried in the Bureau's 500,000 case files, each
   one of which would have to be searched to turn up all the Cointelpro
   When the Committee asked the FBI to provide it with a list of any
   Cointelpro activities undertaken since the programmes were officially
   abolished on April 28, 1971, the Bureau at first said that a review
   had "failed to develop any information indicating po st-termination
   Cointelpro activity."
   Afterward, however, the Bureau located and furnished to the Committee
   two instances of such operations. Committee investigators discovered a
   third instance on their, own. How many others have taken and are
   taking place, is a matter of conjecture.
   The fact is that, whatever public posture the Bureau may have adopted
   officially, the agents involved in Cointelpro, almost to a man have
   defended their despicable acts as proper and necessary. One Cointelpro
   unit chief declared: "The Bureau people did not think that they were
   doing anything wrong and most of us to this day do not think we were
   doing anything wrong."
   That was the feeling of Section Chief Goerge C. Moore as well: "I
   thought I did something very important during those days. I have no
   apologies to make for anything we did, really."
   In 1974, then-FBI Director Clarence Kelley commented on the Cointel
   programmes thus:
   "For the FBI to have done less under the circumstances would have been
   an abdication of its responsibilities to the American people."
   When three top FBI officials were arraigned on April 21, 1978 for
   conspiring to violate the rights of citizens by authorizing break-ins,
   a crowd of 750 FBI agents held a demonstration outside the Washington
   court, indicating their support of a solidarity w ith the accused.
   Special Agent Patrick Conner from the New York field office, which had
   carried out the alleged break-ins into residences of innocent friends
   and relatives of the fugitives they sought, told media
   "Let this event today clearly reflect our personal commitment and show
   the American people that our fight against those terrorists was
   nothing more than our just and sworn duty."
   It was, of course, much more than their "sworn duty." It was a serious
   violation of the law.
   But, as this and other post-Cointelpro events clearly show, inside the
   Federal Bureau of Investigation, there has really been no change of
   heart; merely a change of record-keeping.
   Whether the Church of Scientology was formally a part of the
   Cointelpro or not, many of the same techniques used by the FBI during
   the 15 years that those programmes were in operation, were also
   employed against Scientologists.
   During more than 20 years, the Bureau conducted a deliberate smear
   campaign against the church, one which has had lasting effects. The
   agency became an avid collector of unfavourable news stories and
   magazine articles concerning Scientology and its founder . Enquiries
   from individuals, other agencies and foreign governments were all
   provided with these materials and referred to other sources of
   derogatory allegations.
   To conceal the fact that the FBI was the source of the slander, Hoover
   would introduce the libel with the statement that "No investigation
   has been conducted by this Bureau concerning Hubbard [or
   "Scientology"]. However, our files reveal that There would t hen
   follow a deadly selection of venemous gossip, rumour and false
   published reports from the copious FBI files, but attributed to other
   Sometimes, the Director would close his letter with the words: "I am
   enclosing some material which I thought you might like to have."
   The "material" refeffed to would be a packet of black propaganda in
   the form of raw data accumulated by the Bureau.
   Over the years, the defamatory reports thus generated by the FBI began
   to percolate among other governmental agencies and departments which,
   in turn, built their own files and became new centers for further
   diffusion of the falsehoods. The exchange was a c ontagion that
   eventually spread to the remotest corner of the world. (See chart on
   adjoining page.)
   Internal memoranda clearly show that Hoover was aware that the Church
   of Scientology was neither violence-prone nor subversive. His letters
   to his own field offices contain such statements as the following
   (sent to the Special Agent in Charge in San Franci sco):
   "Bufiles contain no information of a subversive nature regarding
   captioned organization or its president, Lafayette Ron Hubbard."
   To outside terminals, however, the Bureau sent "confidential"
   information quoting informants as having asserted that the church was
   involved in drugs, brainwashing, Communism, atheism and materialism.
   Reports of this kind were sent to, among others, the CIA, the Alaskan
   State Police, the British Government, the White House, and to the
   legal attache at the U.S. Embassy in Paris.
   The Director's oft-repeated statement (in coffespondence to outsiders)
   that the Bureau had conducted no investigation of Hubbard or the
   Sdentologists was untrue.
   As early as 1951, the FBI began an internal security investigation of
   Hubbard and his organization. Documents reveal that "contacts" inside
   the Chicago branch of the Hubbard Dianetics Foundation (a precursor of
   the Church of Scientology) conducted a detail ed investigation and
   supplied the Bureau with details as to the business affairs, office
   personnel, and procedures of various branches across the country.
   Later the FBI planted undercover agents in the church to spy upon its
   members and ministerial staff a nd to make regular reports to the
     (Click here for Picture) The web of intrigue and black propaganda.
     Lines, all emanating from Washington, D.C. each illustrate a false
     report regarding the Church of Scientology.
   One of these secret agents was named Chico Henderson, who came to Los
   Angeles from Flint, Michigan, where he had worked as an undercover
   sleuth for the Flint Police Depart ment. In a sworn statement, made
   after he discontinued his work for the FBI, Henders on said he had
   been recruited for the job by FBI Special Agent Jim Oppy. Agent Oppy
   was later to play an important role in the Government's persecuting of
   the church.
   Another "confidential informant" for the FBI was Jack Graham, who was
   a member of the church. Beginning in 1973, Graham worked for the Los
   Angeles office of the Bureau during the ensuing five years. His FBI
   contact was Special Agent Robert Kilbane.
   It is not known what inducement Agent Kilbane used to enlist Graham's
   service as a spy in his church; but in an affidavit sworn to by Graham
   in October 1977, he states:
   "In Chicago in late 1974 or early months of 1975 I called FBI Agent
   Robert Kilbane in Los Angeles, seeking to make a deal to obtain his
   assistance in a criminal case then pending against my father. Mr.
   Kilbane referred me to the FBI agent in Chicago who, K ilbane said,
   may be able to help me."
   Graham said that later, "in the early months of 1976, 1 put my father
   ... in touch with Agent Tucci [of the Drug Enforcement Agency] and the
   DEA, through Agent Tucci, sent my father to Mexico City pursuant to
   their agreement."
   While carrying out assignments for the FBI in Chicago, Graham said
   that, upon the instructions of FBI Special Agent Robin Tomlin, he made
   an illegal purchase of a semiautomatic pistol. He was then given $50
   by Agent Tomlin to illegally purchase a .38 calib er revolver. (The
   implication here is that the FBI were having the illegal purchases
   made to entrap a suspect.)
   Upon returning to Los Angeles on April 15, 1977, Graham resumed
   contact with Agent Robert Kilbane. The G-man asked the informant to
   help him find out if any members of the Church of Scientology were
   engaged in unlawful activities.
   Graham offered to induce a friend who had access to the Church's
   Guardian Office to obtain documents for the FBI. Agent Kilbane told
   him the Bureau was not interested in documents from the church because
   "we have a whole storeroom full of them."
   Instead, he told Graham that he did want the name of any church member
   responsible for break-ins at U. S. Government installations to steal
   official documents.
   "I have no knowledge or information that in any way supports Agent
   Kilbane's allegation of illegal activities on the part of members of
   the Church of Scientology," Graham declared in a sworn statement made
   March 3, 1978.
   John Cole, another FBI snooper who was assigned to get a line on the
   Scientologists, apparently jumbled his mission somewhere along the
   way, and got his comeuppance at the scene. In 1971, he sued church
   members Terry Milner and Henning Heldt who, he allege d, assaulted him
   in the church offices. He had been there in search of confidential
   information, for which he assured the two church executives, he was
   willing to pay.
   When it came to pressing his suit in court, however, Cole had a
   problem. On January 27, 1971, Moton B. Holt, Jr., his legal counsel,
   wrote to the United States Attorney in Los Angeles:
   "Confirming our conversation, I am attaching interrogatories in
   subject action by which defendants seek to discover information of Mr.
   Cole's prior activities which included undercover work, special
   assignment and informant duties in various Governmental a gencies,
   including the justice Department, Senator Eastland's Committee, the
   FBI, the CIA, the C-11, and others. The FBI recommended that I contact
   your office with respect to any suggestions you may have to avoid
   answering any of the propounded questions in this area.
   "Mr. Cole advises that the information is highly confidential from the
   Government's viewpoint and disclosure of the same is not in the
   interest of national security and, further, would endanger the lives
   of at least four Government agents.
   "I have various citations which could be used including the Internal
   Security Act, the Espionage and Censorship Act and various
   Departmental Orders."
   Attorney Holt said that the Judge hearing the case had granted the
   defendants' motion to compel him to answer questions on the grounds
   that such questions were material to show loss of earnings while Cole
   was hospitalized. He added:
   "Cole does not want to appeal due to the publicity involved. The
   original story when the suit was filed was squelched by the FBI."
   (Emphasis added.)
   An intelligence report dated January 29, 1969 filed in the Drug
   Enforcement Agency archives throws additional light on Cole's
   activities. The document lists articles taken from church offices in
   Los Angeles. It is captioned, "From: Cole -To: Slagel."
   In 1974, Tom Johnson, FBI Special Agent in San Francisco, tried over a
   period of several months to recruit a young Scientology student named
   James Robert Welder to become an undercover operative in the church.
   "He made it clear to me that if I was caught, they would handle it. I
   asked, why me? They said we'll pay you money. All you have to do is
   give us something that will hold up legally in court against
   Welder said he would think over the proposition. He was contacted by
   Agent Johnson again three days later.
   "I got a phone call and he said, this is Mr. Johnson. He told me to go
   to Marchetti's, a bar across the street from work. He told me someone
   would meet me there after work."
   Johnson and another FBI agent met Welder in the parking lot and drove
   him to a residential section about five miles from the bar. There they
   parked on the side of the road.
   "They asked me what I had decided, and I told them I was willing to
   look at the deal they had."
   The Agents offered Welder $800 a month, and pay for his study courses
   in Scientology, as well as reimbursement for the money he had already
   invested in his classes.
   "I told him I'd like to think about it some more. He said, 'We'll
   contact you in about a week.' "
   Later, a man came to Welder's apartment, saying he had been sent by
   Agent Johnson to teach the youth karate. "He said if I was involved
   with them I could have no weapon, so I ought to be able to defend
   myself and that they'd be in the background. I had mad e no agreement
   to cooperate; but he came over three days a week."
   In the end, Welder decided against becoming a spy. "I decided not to
   get involved. I wanted Scientology. I saw him [Johnson] on October 3,
   1974 at Sambo's and told him I wanted out, what did I have to do?
   "He said, 'Nothing; just drop out.' He said if I tried to prove
   anything against them, it wouldn't do any good. He asked me why I had
   changed my mind. I said it was just a personal feeling."
   Documents reveal that the FBI (as well as other federal agencies) had
   secret operatives at work in virtually every branch of the Church of
   Scientology. Material obtained under the Freedom of Information Act
   also makes it clear that in some instances, churc h members were
   coerced into supplying the agency with confidential information, by
   the threat of, or offer of immunity from criminal prosecution on some
   charge unrelated to Scientology.
   In addition to paid spies, spiteful rumour mongers, and coerced
   informants, intelligence agencies of the Government made use of
   illegal wiretapping and bugging in their warfevered assault on the
   Church of Scientology.
   The nature and extent of this global, electronic eavesdropping will
   never be known. Many of the guilty weasels have been too adroit at
   covering their tracks.
   Judging from the documentary evidence available, however, the
   coordinated efforts of the following agencies have been massive and
   widespread: the National Security Agency, the U.S. Justice Department,
   FBI, FDA, CIA, IRS, Bureau of Customs, Drug Enforcement Administration
   (DEA, formerly the BNDD), the Department of Defense, the Defense
   Intelligence Service, Interpol, U.S. State Department, U.S. Post
   Office, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, Bureau of
   Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF), Departmen t of Labor; Department
   of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW), the Secret Service, and the
   police departments of 26 American cities, from New York to Honolulu;
   from Montpelier, Vermont to Dallas, Texas.
   In addition to these federal, state and local agencies,
   Scientologists' legal representatives have called for a review of the
   investigative files of law-enforcement and intelligence services in 41
   foreign countries.
   The immense difficulty of recovering records of intrusions, the
   majority of them illegal, on such a vast scale, augurs little success
   in the undertaking.
   Here at home, the case of the FBI is typical. Testimony before the
   Senate Select Committee revealed that prior to 1960, the agency
   maintained only rudimentary indicies in each of its field offices.
   There was no central index; and the often-ambiguous files kept in the
   field offices "were believed to be inadequate by Justice Department
   FBI spokesmen admitted to the Senate committee that even after the
   Bureau had established a central index, ELSUR (electronics
   surveillance), at their headquarters in Washington, overhears may not
   have been recorded, logs have been destroyed, and voices not
   immediately identifiable, have not been indexed, even though they were
   singled out later.
   During the course of legal proceedings, ELSUR supervisor John Smythe
   testified that the FBI central index includes only full names of
   persons eavesdropped on, dates of the overhear, and the field office
   source of the report. In other words, the integrity o f the index
   depends upon the Bureau's field offices sending to the central files
   the full names, or the first and suspected surnames of the individuals
   being monitored. Agent Smythe conceded that field offices do not
   always do that. (Almost certainly an un derstatement of the
   Smythe said that there is no topical listing in the centralized ELSUR
   index, although such a listing is conveniently tucked away by code
   name in the agency general index of investigations. Moreover, the
   index does not list surveillance by telephone number, address, or
   case; nor does it record surveillances conducted on telephones unless
   the full name of the user is known.
   He further testified that he would have no way of knowing whether
   other agencies - state, local or otherwise - had provided the FBI with
   information derived from their own electronic traps. At the same time,
   he said, when FBI field offices request permissi on to make a "tap
   search," the headquarters approval always includes the following
   "It is suggested that you contact any other federal agencies to
   determine if they have conducted any electronic surveillance" [of the
   same subject]. When other agencies do provide a field office with data
   from their own wiretap files, only the field office keeps case files
   indicating the source of the information. The FBI, like other federal
   intelligence agencies, is careful to conceal its exchange of covertly
   obtained data with other law-enforcement bodies including local police
   In an affidavit submitted to a U. S. District Court by a lawyer
   representing an executive of the Church of Scientology, the attorney
   notes that "The FBI Manual of Instruction provides that information
   may be transmitted to a local law enforcement agency on blind
   memoranda, 'which is plain stationery with no identification of the
   FBI as the source ... Moreover, the FBI transmitted these 'blind
   memoranda' only if the local police agreed that the Bureau's 'identity
   as source of the information must be kept str ictly confidential.'"
   It is a common practice for information to be passed between the
   various agencies by an informal "buddy" system, that is, in an oral
   exchange between the agents concerned.
   The Scientology attorney just quoted also observes: "Because of the
   above described inadequacies of the records, and the proven reluctance
   of the agencies to make thorough searches [of their files] and honest
   disclosures, the case annuals are replete with instances of belated
   disclosures after denials were accepted by the courts as complete and
   Illegal surveillance is often disguised in agency reports by
   attributing the information to code names or to "confidential
   Another stratagem employed by federal agencies for disposing of
   evidence of illegal eavesdropping is for agents to listen to tapes of
   the intercepted conversations, from which they obtain investigative
   leads, and then erase them.
   Warrantless wiretapping is not an uncommon practice among local police
   departments in the U.S., sometimes with the knowledge, and the
   financial and technical help of the FBI.
   Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that
   police departments throughout the United States participated in the
   federal conspiracy against the Church of Scientology. There is
   documented evidence that police in New York, Washington, D.C.,
   Detroit, Los Angeles and Eureka, California engaged in surveillance of
   the church. At the same time, they received from, and disseminated to,
   the federal agencies information obtained from various sources.
   It is, of course, difficult for a private citizen or group to prove a
   wiretap or electronic intrusion conducted by law enforcement
   personnel. It has been shown in testimony before Congressional
   investigative committees that telephone companies cooperate wi th
   federal agencies such as the FBI and the IRS in their unauthorized
   eavesdropping. A significant number of telephone company security
   officers are former FBI special agents, still fiercely loyal to the
   Bureau and, it may be fairly assumed, in complete ac cord with the
   practices of their former colleagues.
   Not long ago, the Ruff Times, a widely circulated newsletter published
   by conservative economist Howard Ruff, reported that they had been
   provided with a telephone number which, when dialed, would indicate
   whether the subscriber's phone was tapped. The num ber was (213)
   348-0003. A busy signal would indicate that the caller's telephone was
   "tuned in." On the other hand, a wavering, whistling sound signified
   that the phone from which the call was being made was untapped.
   Immediately after publication of this intelligence, the telephone
   company installed an answering device at the number, on which a
   recorded voice declared:
   "The number you have reached is for Pacific Telephone internal use,
   and in no way will it determine if a telephone is being wiretapped."
   The busy signals, or the wavering, whistling sounds previously
   encountered when the number was dialed, were now absent. The telephone
   company did not disclose what "internal use" the number had.
   During recent years, the telephone has become an instrument of
   frustration and annoyance to many Scientologists. The nature, extent
   and frequency of the difficulties they have experienced reflect
   adversely on the qualifications of the instructors who teach
   Government-run seminars in the use of surveillance equipment. Curious
   noises on the line, disrupted service, verbal encounters with
   unidentified individuals on the line, overhears of federal agents
   talking to each other or "reporting in," - all these and other
   contretemps make it plain that undercover operatives in the lower
   echelons are in urgent need of additional training in intrusion
   On occasion, the tapee has learned of his ghostly listeners from
   official sources. For instance, Mrs. William Franks, a Scientologits,
   affirmed under oath: "That on or about the 7th of August, 1975, DC
   Metropolitan Policeman Bobby Condon called me on the t elephone at the
   address of the Founding Church of Scientology, 2125 S St., NW,
   Washington, D.C. The number at which Condon called was 797-1204.
   During this communication, Condon asked me to go to another phone,
   because the phone at which we were speaking w as wiretapped; however,
   he refused to elaborate further or name the source of the tap or the
   source of his information of the tap. "
   In another sworn statement, John Taussig, a member of the church's
   Gaurdian staff, reported that since May, 1974, he has on numerous
   occasions noticed curious acoustic phenomena while using the telephone
   lines of the legal office. He states that the most f requent and
   noticeable noises have been mysterious clicking sounds. He has also on
   several occasions experienced interruptions which clearly did not
   originate in his telephone or that of the party with whom he was
   conversing. He avers that other staff memb ers have complained to him
   or to other members of the legal department of similar
   At least two attorneys representing Scientology defendants in a
   criminal case have been the subject of Government eavesdropping. One
   of the lawyers, Philip Hirschkop, was overheard by the FBI on numerous
   occasions. The FBI has admitted to the overhears in 1971, but the
   contents of these taps have not been divulged, nor has an examination
   of the agents involved been conducted.
   Another prominent attorney, who was representing Mary Sue Hubbard,
   wife of Scientology's founder, was also "overheard." Benjamin
   Civiletti, now U.S. Attorney General, admitted in a letter to attorney
   Leonard B. Boudin that "various conversations to which y ou were a
   party were overheard by the Bureau as a result of electronic
   surveillance of other subjects. "
   The Government claimed that all except one of the monitored
   conversations were classified, "but will be reviewed for possible
   To date, neither the unclassified intercept, nor those to be reviewed,
   have been revealed.
   Sometimes, when the tin ear on the Scientology lines overheard
   something unfavorable to the Bureau, he hit the interference button.
   That's what happened when Jon Christian Volz was dictating a news
   release to Radio Station WTSB in North Carolina.
   "An announcer from the station, Don Babson, had previously said that
   he wanted to have my story. I made the call from a telephone in the
   church's offices.
   "Whilst I was dictating, the phone went dead. I called back and the
   same thing happened. I called again, and this time Don Babson asked if
   the phone I was calling from was tapped. I told him that this was a
   distinct possibility and he said that in his expe rience he had had
   news items constantly cut off whilst being relayed over the phone if
   those tapping the phone did not want the message to be relayed."
   After six unsuccessful attempts at unbroken communication, Volz tried
   another telephone in the church office. After the second try on this
   phone, he was able to read the full dispatch.
   "On each attempt, my call was cut off at precisely the same point in
   my dictating of the release. This happened whether I read the release
   slowly or quickly, so was not after a uniform time period from the
   start of the call.
   "The call was cut off each time after I had read the first six lines,
   which read as follows:
   " 'The FBI was forced last week in a Freedom of Information suit to
   admit that they were involved in dirty tricks and disinformation
   techniques against citizens and groups.
   " 'What wasn't released was that the Defense Department is also fully
   involved in this type of harrassment.' "
   At that point, the hidden censor pulled the plug.
   Appelate courts have recognized the near-impossibility of proving
   illegal wiretaps by Government agents. For that reason, they have
   generally held that a showing need not be more elaborate or even more
   specific than a mere assertion of illegal surveillance . To require
   more, they have correctly reasoned, would impose a minimal burden on
   the Government while requiring a defendant to run a hopeless obstacle
   course in their struggle against official concealment.
   Furthermore, said the courts, the mere say-say of the prosecutor that
   there has been no unlawful intrusion is not an adequate response. A
   search of agency records is required.
   In one case, involving two grand jury witnesses (who were not even
   criminal defendants), the court observed:
   "If we were to hold that a witness could make a 'claim' only when he
   has found an electronic bug in his home, heard mysterious bleeps in
   his telephone or rifled the files of the Justice Department, we would
   merely succeed in encouraging the Government to i mprove its security
   as well as its technology."
   Even if Government prosecutors must show that a search of files in ten
   agencies (which seems to be the present minimum acceptable to higher
   courts), the inadequate record-keeping and deliberate concealment by
   federal agencies will always give the Governmen t the edge in the
   matter of illegal electronic surveilance.
   Then, too, there remains the question of covertly obtained information
   in the files of "friendly" foreign intelligence agencies. Such files -
   and there are a great number of them will always remain beyond the
   reach of U.S. courts.
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