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Operation Snow White

Operation Snow White

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Operation Snow White was the Church of Scientology
Church of Scientology
The Church of Scientology is an organization devoted to the practice and the promotion of the Scientology belief system. The Church of Scientology International is the Church of Scientology's parent organization, and is responsible for the overall ecclesiastical management, dissemination and...

's name for a conspiracy during the 1970s to purge unfavorable records about Scientology and its founder L. Ron Hubbard
L. Ron Hubbard
Lafayette Ronald Hubbard , better known as L. Ron Hubbard , was an American pulp fiction author and religious leader who founded the Church of Scientology...

. This project included a series of infiltrations and thefts from 136 government agencies, foreign embassies and consulates, as well as private organizations critical of Scientology, carried out by Church members, in more than 30 countries; the single largest infiltration of the United States government in history with up to 5,000 covert agents. This was also the operation that exposed 'Operation Freakout
Operation Freakout
Operation Freakout, also known as Operation PC Freakout, was a Church of Scientology covert plan intended to have the US author and journalist Paulette Cooper imprisoned or committed to a mental institution...

', because this was the case that initiated the US government investigation of the Church.

Under this program, Scientology
Scientology
Scientology is a body of beliefs and related practices created by science fiction and fantasy author L. Ron Hubbard , starting in 1952, as a successor to his earlier self-help system, Dianetics...

 operatives committed infiltration
Infiltration tactics
In warfare, infiltration tactics involve small, lightly equipped infantry forces attacking enemy rear areas while bypassing enemy front line strongpoints and isolating them for attack by follow-up troops with heavier weapons.-Development during World War I:...

, wiretapping, and theft of documents in government offices, most notably those of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Eleven highly-placed Church executives, including Mary Sue Hubbard
Mary Sue Hubbard
Mary Sue Hubbard was the third wife of L. Ron Hubbard, from 1952 to his death in 1986, and was a leading figure in Scientology for much of her life...

 (wife of founder L. Ron Hubbard
L. Ron Hubbard
Lafayette Ronald Hubbard , better known as L. Ron Hubbard , was an American pulp fiction author and religious leader who founded the Church of Scientology...

 and second-in-command of the organization), pleaded guilty or were convicted in federal court of obstructing justice, burglary of government offices, and theft of documents and government property. The case was United States v. Mary Sue Hubbard et al
United States v. Hubbard
United States v. Hubbard was a 1978 criminal court case charging Mary Sue Hubbard and several other members of the Church of Scientology with violations of various laws including:...

.
, 493 F.Supp. 209 (D.D.C.
United States District Court for the District of Columbia
The United States District Court for the District of Columbia is a federal district court. Appeals from the District are taken to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit The United States District Court for the District of Columbia (in case citations, D.D.C.) is a...

 1979).

Background


As early as 1960, L. Ron Hubbard had proposed that Scientologists should infiltrate government departments by taking secretarial, bodyguard or other jobs. In the early 1970s, the Church of Scientology was increasingly scrutinized by US federal agencies, having already been raided by the Food and Drug Administration
Food and Drug Administration
The Food and Drug Administration is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, one of the United States federal executive departments...

 in 1963. The Internal Revenue Service
Internal Revenue Service
The Internal Revenue Service is the revenue service of the United States federal government. The agency is a bureau of the Department of the Treasury, and is under the immediate direction of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue...

 (IRS) claimed it owed millions of dollars in taxes and the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

 (FBI) sent agents into the organization. The Church's response involved a publicity campaign, extensive litigation against the IRS and a program of infiltration of agency offices.

The specific branch of Scientology responsible for Operation Snow White was the Guardian's Office. Created in 1966 by L. Ron Hubbard
L. Ron Hubbard
Lafayette Ronald Hubbard , better known as L. Ron Hubbard , was an American pulp fiction author and religious leader who founded the Church of Scientology...

 himself, the Guardian's Office's purpose was to protect the interests of Scientology.
At the time of Operation Snow White, the Guardian's Office had worldwide headquarters (Guardian’s Office WW) located at Saint Hill Manor
Saint Hill Manor
Saint Hill Manor is a country house at Saint Hill Green, Mid Sussex, near East Grinstead, West Sussex, England that serves as the location of the head office for the Church of Scientology in the United Kingdom.-Early history:...

 in England. Headquarters in the United States (Guardian’s Office US) were in Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

, California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

. A smaller office also existed in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 (Guardian’s Office DC) and other cities throughout the United States. Each of the Guardian Offices had five bureaus including the Information Bureau which oversaw the infiltration of the government. L. Ron Hubbard oversaw the Guardian's Office, though it was Mary Sue Hubbard, his wife, who held the title Commodore Staff Guardian.

Several years later, in 1973, the Guardian's Office began a massive infiltration of governments around the world, though the primary target of the operation was the United States. Worried about Scientology’s long term reputation, the Guardian’s Office decided to infiltrate Interpol
Interpol
Interpol, whose full name is the International Criminal Police Organization – INTERPOL, is an organization facilitating international police cooperation...

 in order to obtain documents relating to Scientology, as well as those connecting L. Ron Hubbard to criminal activity. This duty was handed by Jane Kember to Henning Heldt and his staff.

Around this time L. Ron Hubbard himself wrote Guardian Order 732, which called for the removal and correction of “erroneous” Scientology files. It is here that Operation Snow White has its origins. Though the order called for this to be achieved by legal means, this would quickly change. Hubbard himself would later be named by federal prosecutors as an "unindicted co-conspirator" for his part in the operation. Though extensive records of his involvement exist, many Scientologists claim his directives were misinterpreted by his followers.

Operation Snow White would be further refined by Guardian Order 1361. Addressed from Jane Kember to Heldt, Duke Snider, and Richard Weigand, GO 1361 called for, amongst other things, an infiltration of the Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

 and London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 offices of the IRS, and the Department of Justice
United States Department of Justice
The United States Department of Justice , is the United States federal executive department responsible for the enforcement of the law and administration of justice, equivalent to the justice or interior ministries of other countries.The Department is led by the Attorney General, who is nominated...

.

While the order was specific to the IRS, the Guardian’s Office was soon recruiting their own field agents to infiltrate other governmental offices, including the Drug Enforcement Administration
Drug Enforcement Administration
The Drug Enforcement Administration is a federal law enforcement agency under the United States Department of Justice, tasked with combating drug smuggling and use within the United States...

 (DEA), the U.S. Coast Guard intelligence service, and the National Institute of Mental Health
National Institute of Mental Health
The National Institute of Mental Health is one of 27 institutes and centers that make up the National Institutes of Health...

, among others, as well as the American Medical Association
American Medical Association
The American Medical Association , founded in 1847 and incorporated in 1897, is the largest association of medical doctors and medical students in the United States.-Scope and operations:...

. The program called for rewards to be given for successful missions carried out by Scientologists.

Other planned elements of the operation included petitioning governments and the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 to charge government critics of Scientology with genocide
Genocide
Genocide is defined as "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group", though what constitutes enough of a "part" to qualify as genocide has been subject to much debate by legal scholars...

, on the theory that official criticism of the group constituted "deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction". One of the sentencing memoranda in the case also noted that, contrary to what the defendants claimed, the programs planned by the Guardian's Office were not restricted to trying to remove "false reports" but included plans to plant false information—for instance, planting false records about "a cat
Cat
The cat , also known as the domestic cat or housecat to distinguish it from other felids and felines, is a small, usually furry, domesticated, carnivorous mammal that is valued by humans for its companionship and for its ability to hunt vermin and household pests...

 with a pedigree
Pedigree chart
A pedigree chart is a diagram that shows the occurrence and appearance or phenotypes of a particular gene or organism and its ancestors from one generation to the next, most commonly humans, show dogs, and race horses....

 name" into US security agency computers so that later "the creature holds a press conference and photographic story results." The purpose of this plan was "to hold up the American security to ridicule, as outlined in the GO by LRH."

The start of 1974 saw a Michael Meisner appointed Assistant Guardian for Information in the District of Columbia (AG I DC). Meisner’s responsibilities included the implementation of all Information Bureau orders, programs, and projects within the DC area. Meisner’s supervisor at this time was Duke Snider, the Assistant Guardian for DC, or AG DC. This was the highest position in Washington’s GO office.

In July 1974 Meisner was ordered by Duke Snider to implement the previously written plan to obtain Interpol documents, which were then located in the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Meisner had more to do than just this, though, as by August he was also taking directions from a Cindy Raymond, the GO's Collections Officer for the US, who ordered Meisner to assist her in finding a loyal Scientologist agent to gain employment at the IRS headquarters in Washington DC. This employee was to steal all documents dealing with Scientology, especially those involving current litigation by Scientology against the government. Meisner discussed this with Raymond for a period of a month before interviewing various Scientologists with no luck. A month after the order had been given, Raymond informed Meisner that she had selected Gerald Bennett Wolfe.

Implementation


The GO's actual infiltration of the government likely began when Gerald Wolfe and Michael Meisner were able to gain employment at the IRS as clerk-typists. Under direction of the Guardian Office, Wolfe monitored files on tax-exempt organizations and, when requested, illegally made copies for Scientology. Meisner supervised both Wolfe and the Information Bureau section in DC, and reported to the GO's Deputy Guardian for Information in the US.

In November 1974, Operation Snow White took an unexpected turn for the GO when they received word that the IRS would be conducting a meeting on Scientology’s tax-exempt status. In response, the church sent a spy to bug the room. On the morning of November 1, the day before the meeting, a GO agent, Hermann, broke into the conference room and plugged the device into an electrical outlet. This device, in turn, then transmitted a signal on an FM frequency
Frequency modulation
In telecommunications and signal processing, frequency modulation conveys information over a carrier wave by varying its instantaneous frequency. This contrasts with amplitude modulation, in which the amplitude of the carrier is varied while its frequency remains constant...

, which was picked up and recorded by Scientologists sitting in a car in the parking lot of the Smithsonian, which faced the office. After the meeting Hermann removed the device, and the taped recording of the meeting was sent to LA.

By December, Wolfe, Herman, and Meisner had sent a shipment of stolen documents 20 inches thick to Duke Snider. Snider, in turn, sent notification to Mo Budlong in LA. By the end of December, Wolfe was stealing documents from the IRS's Chief Counsel's office. Just days after Christmas, Wolfe broke into the office of Barbara Bird, an attorney in the IRS's Refund Litigation Service. Bird had been present at the November 1st meeting. Instead of stealing files, Wolfe took them to a copier and made photocopies using government paper.

Later Wolfe met Meisner at a Lums Restaurant, where he reported on his most recent theft. Meisner took the documents and underlined selections that he believed his superiors would find interesting or relevant and wrote a summary of the important points. This was then routed through the Assistant Guardian for DC and on to the Deputy Guardian for the US, the Deputy Guardian for Information in the US, the Branch I Director of the Information Bureau, and the Collections Officer, all of which were in LA. A copy was also sent to Mary Sue Hubbard. This was typically standard procedure for Meisner.

In early 1975 Operation Snow White expanded again as Sharon Thomas obtained employment in the U.S. Coast Guard Intelligence Agency and Nancy Douglass began work at the Drug Enforcement Administration
Drug Enforcement Administration
The Drug Enforcement Administration is a federal law enforcement agency under the United States Department of Justice, tasked with combating drug smuggling and use within the United States...

 (DEA). Douglass stole documents and made photocopies of others. These were transmitted to Hermann.

By Spring, attention had been called back to the IRS case as Mary Sue Hubbard had instructed Kember and Heldt to “use any method at our disposal to win the battle and gain our non-profit (tax) status." Heldt wrote back telling that her request had been sent to the Information Bureau, who had been ordered to complete the collection of documents from the IRS and the Department of Justice's tax files within three months.

In April, Meisner procured a directory of the Department of Justice and located the offices that would have files pertaining to Scientology litigation. When he found what he wanted he sent in Wolfe, who broke into the offices of two attorneys on three successive Saturdays. Wolfe copied twelve files and met up with Meisner, as before, at Lums restaurant. These files were especially useful to Scientology, as it detailed the government’s strategy in various court cases.

In May, Willardson directed Meisner to implement "Project Horn", which called for Meisner to "provide a cover for PR and legal for the way they obtained IRS docs". The idea would be for the GO's Public Relations Bureau to view the documents without worrying about being connected to the theft. Willardson’s idea called for Meisner to steal documents dealing with organizations other than Scientology. Willardson also called for the theft of IRS stationery, in order to forge letters from a (fictional) disgruntled IRS employee. The files on various organizations (including Scientology, of course) would then be sent out attached to the fake letter. The idea was that it would appear that an upset IRS agent had himself sent the files to numerous organizations. There would be nothing to tie it to Scientology. Wolfe stole both the stationery and, without permission, files on the Unification Church
Unification Church
The Unification Church is a new religious movement founded by Korean religious leader Sun Myung Moon. In 1954, the Unification Church was formally and legally established in Seoul, South Korea, as The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity . In 1994, Moon gave the church...

 and Bob Jones University
Bob Jones University
Bob Jones University is a private, for-profit, non-denominational Protestant university in Greenville, South Carolina.The university was founded in 1927 by Bob Jones, Sr. , an evangelist and contemporary of Billy Sunday...

.

During the Summer and Fall months of 1975 the GO launched an additional plan. In July, Meisner was told by Cindy Raymond that the Church of Scientology had initiated a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the IRS. Meisner was directed to add the office of Charles Zuravin to his list of offices to monitor. Zuravin was representing the government in the case. Meisner immediately passed this duty on to Wolfe, who broke into Zuravin's office multiple times between July and November. Wolfe revealed to his superiors that Zuravin was preparing an index of Scientology files relevant to the FOIA case. IRS offices from all over the country were sending files to Zuravin. This index file, required by the courts in all FOIA cases, is a total list of the documents requested, and reasons for their exemption from the public, if any.

By October, Zuravin had finished the index, numbering each document in order to simplify location, and had provided a copy to Scientology attorneys. These attorneys, in turn, gave the index to Raymond, who passed it along to Meisner, who passed it to Wolfe. Wolfe then entered Zuravin's office and then began copying the documents listed on the index. Zuravin had essentially done the GO's job for them.

On December 5, 1975 Jane Kember issued Guardian Program Order 158, which intended to give L. Ron Hubbard early warning of impending legal action. The plan called for the infiltration of the government agencies that had either the power to issue, or the knowledge of, impending subpoena
Subpoena
A subpoena is a writ by a government agency, most often a court, that has authority to compel testimony by a witness or production of evidence under a penalty for failure. There are two common types of subpoena:...

s. Specific agencies include the US Attorney’s Office in DC and LA, the IRS Office of International Operations, the DEA, and the Coast Guard and Immigration and Naturalization
Immigration and Naturalization Service
The United States Immigration and Naturalization Service , now referred to as Legacy INS, ceased to exist under that name on March 1, 2003, when most of its functions were transferred from the Department of Justice to three new components within the newly created Department of Homeland Security, as...

. After reviewing the letter, Meisner concluded it would be a better idea to infiltrate the Department of Justice than the US Attorney's Office
United States Attorney General
The United States Attorney General is the head of the United States Department of Justice concerned with legal affairs and is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States government. The attorney general is considered to be the chief lawyer of the U.S. government...

.

In January 1976 Hermann, the Southeast US Secretary for the Information Bureau, informed Meisner that Heldt and Weigand approved a plan to send Alverzo to Washington. Alverzo arrived on the 17th, and on the 18th he picked the locks on the doors belonging to the office of Lewis Hubbard (no relation to L. Ron Hubbard) and the file room housing Zuravin's files. Wolfe stood guard at the end of the hallway while Alverzo worked on Hubbard's door. A few doors down Meisner worked on Zuravin's door. After an hour and a half with no success, Meisner was getting upset. In frustration, Meisner hit the top of Zuravin's door, which popped right open. The three Scientologists entered the office and took the remaining Scientology related documents. They then traveled to another floor where they made photocopies. Wolfe continued to make copies while Alverzo and Meisner tried again to open Hubbard's office. The trio then worked well into the night photocopying files from Hubbard’s office. When they left, sometime around 2 AM, they left with a foot tall stack of documents. Less than a month later Richard Weigand wrote to Jane Kember, telling her that the IRS documents that had been ordered to be obtained in Guardian Order 1361, over two years earlier, had been obtained.

Gerald Wolfe, along with Meisner, were later able to break into a room and make false IRS identification cards, which allowed them access to the federal courthouse in Washington. Wolfe and Meisner then used these cards to gain access to restricted areas and steal more documents.

While Wolfe and Meisner continued their work at the IRS, Mary Sue Hubbard, along with other Guardian Office members, were coming up with further plans. Guardian Program Order 302, written by Cindy Raymond and approved by Hubbard, amongst others, directed the infiltration of all government agencies that had withheld files from Scientology's various FOIA requests.

On the night of April 14, Meisner and Wolfe were on the tenth floor of the IRS building housing the Office of International Operations. Trying to enter an office, the pair found it locked. A passing cleaning lady noted Meisner and Wolfe's suspicious behavior, and notified a security guard. The guard confronted the pair and was presented with Wolfe's genuine IRS card and Meisner's fabricated one. Satisfied, the guard had the cleaning lady open the door. Inside, the pair grabbed a hefty load of files. Unable to find a photocopier, the pair then took the files to the main IRS building, where the pair again used their identification to gain access. After copying the files they returned them to Crate's office. The entire process took some four hours.

In May, Wolfe broke into the United States Courthouse and stole keys to the office of Assistant United States Attorney Nathan Dodell. Wolfe then took these keys to have them duplicated, and returned them unnoticed. Almost three weeks later Wolfe and Meisner broke into Dodell's office, stealing documents and, as usual, forwarding them to Guardian headquarters in Los Angeles. The GO's interest in Nathan Dodell stemmed from a Scientology FOIA case. In April, Judge George L Hart asked Dodell whether the US had considered taking a deposition of L Ron Hubbard. Dodell responded that it was an "interesting thought". Furthermore, he promised to discuss it with the Department of Justice.

In May, Meisner and Wolfe entered the US Courthouse for the District of Columbia around four in the afternoon. They went to the third floor, which was the home of both the US Attorney's Office and the Bar Association
Bar association
A bar association is a professional body of lawyers. Some bar associations are responsible for the regulation of the legal profession in their jurisdiction; others are professional organizations dedicated to serving their members; in many cases, they are both...

 Library. They planned to locate Nathan Dodell's office, which was in the back of the Civil Division area, near an elevator. They then searched for the building’s photocopiers. After mapping out these locations, they left. Later, Wolfe and Meisner made a copy of Dodell's keys.

On May 21, Meisner and Wolfe entered the Courthouse, signing in to do research in the library and were issued an elevator key. After riding the elevator to the floor of the library, the pair entered the library and removed several books from shelves and sat at a table. After a few minutes they exited through a backdoor and emerged in a hallway. In this hallway was Dodell's office, which they entered using their keys. The duo stole a number of documents related to Scientology and walked through the hallway to the two copy machines they had previously located. The pair photocopied some six inches of documents before returning the originals to Dodell's office.

One week later Wolfe and Meisner again met outside the IRS building. The duo then walked to the US Courthouse, and signed in under fake names. They repeated their actions from the previous week, copying another foot of documents from the District of Columbia Police Department as well as the Food and Drug Administration
Food and Drug Administration
The Food and Drug Administration is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, one of the United States federal executive departments...

. Returning to Dodell's office through the library, they were stopped by the night librarian, who asked if they had signed in. While they had signed in at the front desk, they had failed to do the same at the front desk of the library. When they announced that they had not, Johnson, the night librarian
Librarian
A librarian is an information professional trained in library and information science, which is the organization and management of information services or materials for those with information needs...

, told the pair not to come back unless they had specific authorization from the day librarian. The pair promptly left. Three days later Johnson notified the US Attorney's Office that two individuals had been seen using the photocopying machines of the Attorney's Office. Johnson and the night guard were told to immediately contact the FBI if the individuals returned.

Less than two weeks later Hermann phoned Meisner, and ordered him to return to Dodell's office and steal his personal files. The goal was to formulate a plan that would result in Dodell being removed from his position as an Assistant US Attorney for the District of Columbia.

Meisner and Wolfe entered the United States Courthouse on June 11 around 7 in the evening. They signed in as they did before, and headed to the library. Johnson, the night librarian, recognized the pair and immediately stopped them. Meisner was prepared for this, and showed the man a letter from the head librarian. Wolfe and Meisner continued to the back of the library where they exited into the hallway. Outside Dodell’s office the two saw that cleaning ladies were still at work.

While Meisner and Wolfe waited for the cleaning crew to vacate the office, Johnson called the FBI, which sent two agents over immediately. The two agents confronted the Scientologists and demanded to see their identification. Wolfe used his real identification. Meisner presented his fake card, and told the agents that he had recently resigned from the IRS. Meisner told Hansen that the pair was in the library to do legal research, and that they had used the photocopiers to copy books and cases. Neither mentioned Scientology. After roughly twenty minutes of questioning, the FBI agents allowed them to leave. Meisner then phoned Hermann to inform him of the news and was told to immediately fly to LA.

Aftermath and trial


Meisner and Wolfe were given cover stories by the Guardian's Office. On the last day of June, Gerald Wolfe was arrested. Wolfe was charged with “the use and possession of a forged official pass of the United States." The day after Wolfe’s arrest, Mary Sue Hubbard wrote a letter to Weigand ordering him to keep her abreast of the situation. Hubbard also conversed with Mo Budlong, and Richard Weigand about Wolfe’s arrest, cover story, and subsequent plan to destroy evidence linking Wolfe and Meisner to Scientology.

At the end of July a judge decided that the case against Wolfe warranted an investigation by a Grand Jury. A week later the judge issued an arrest warrant for Meisner, who, at the time, was being hidden in LA. The FBI was able to connect him to Scientology. By January 1977 it was becoming increasingly likely that Scientology would be unable to escape Operation Snow White without serious penalty. Though Meisner was still in hiding, he was growing increasingly anxious about the situation. By April, Meisner wanted to surrender to the authorities. Meisner was quickly put under the control of several guards.

On May 13, Gerald Wolfe entered a guilty plea. Later in the month, Meisner escaped his captors, only to be convinced to rejoin the GO the following day.
In June, Wolfe, after being sentenced to probation and community service, testified before the Grand Jury. Instead of the truth, Wolfe told the latest incarnation of his cover story. Several days later Meisner would again escape his captors, though this time he would contact the FBI. Meisner was eventually taken to Washington, where he agreed to plead guilty to a five-year conspiracy felony and cooperate with the Grand Jury.

On July 8 the FBI
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

 raided Church of Scientology locations in Los Angeles, Hollywood and Washington, DC. The Los Angeles raid involved 156 FBI agents: the most that had ever been used in a single raid. It lasted 21 hours and filled a sixteen ton truck with documents and other items.

The raids not only turned up documentation of the group's illegal activities against the United States government, but also illegal activities carried out against other perceived enemies of Scientology. These included "Operation Freakout
Operation Freakout
Operation Freakout, also known as Operation PC Freakout, was a Church of Scientology covert plan intended to have the US author and journalist Paulette Cooper imprisoned or committed to a mental institution...

", a conspiracy to frame author Paulette Cooper
Paulette Cooper
Paulette Marcia Cooper is an American author who is best known for activism against the Church of Scientology and the harassment she suffered as a result. Cooper's books have sold close to a half a million copies.-Early life:...

 on false bomb-threat charges, and conspiracies to frame Gabe Cazares
Gabe Cazares
Gabriel "Gabe" Cazares was a mayor of Clearwater, Florida, a Pinellas County commissioner, a civil rights advocate, and a noted critic of the Church of Scientology. He died September 29, 2006 in Clearwater at the age of 86.-Early history:...

, mayor of Clearwater, Florida
Clearwater, Florida
Clearwater is a city located in Pinellas County, Florida, US, nearly due west of Tampa and northwest of St. Petersburg. In the west of Clearwater lies the Gulf of Mexico and in the east lies Tampa Bay. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 108,787. It is the county seat of...

, on false hit-and-run
Hit and run (vehicular)
Hit-and-run is the act of causing a traffic accident , and failing to stop and identify oneself afterwards...

 charges. The papers also revealed that Sir John Foster (author of the official UK Government inquiry into Scientology
Foster Report
The Foster Report is a 1971 report titled Enquiry into the Practice and Effects of Scientology, written by Sir John Foster for the government of the United Kingdom, regarding the Church of Scientology....

) and Lord Balniel (who had requested the report) were targets, along with the National Association for Mental Health (NAMH) and World Federation for Mental Health
World Federation for Mental Health
The World Federation for Mental Health is an international membership organization founded in 1948 to advance, among all peoples and nations, the prevention of mental and emotional disorders, the proper treatment and care of those with such disorders, and the promotion of mental health. Members...

.

Comparing the FBI to the Gestapo, the Church declared that all the files seized from the Church were taken illegally, though the FBI produced a 40-plus page affidavit detailing 160 specific items they were looking for.

By July 20, some 13 days after the raid, a Washington judge ruled that the documents should be returned, at least temporarily, to the Church, and that none of the documents could be shared with branches of the government, unless that specific branch was investigating Scientology. Scientology's lawyers had successfully argued that in order to prepare for an August 8 hearing on the legality of the raid, they must be able to see the documents. By July 27 a judge in Washington had ruled the warrant authorizing the raid was too broad, and as such, violated the Church's 4th Amendment rights. In August this ruling would be overturned, with Scientology promising to take the case to the Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

, which would, early in the next year, refuse to hear the case.

In August 1978 11 high ranking members of Scientology were indicted on 28 charges. One of the indicted was Mary Sue Hubbard
Mary Sue Hubbard
Mary Sue Hubbard was the third wife of L. Ron Hubbard, from 1952 to his death in 1986, and was a leading figure in Scientology for much of her life...

, wife of Scientology’s creator L. Ron Hubbard. The other ten were Gerald Bennett Wolfe
Gerald Wolfe
Gerald Wolfe was the pianist for the Cathedral Quartet from 1986 through 1988. After performing solo for two years, he formed Greater Vision with his former Cathedral member, baritone Mark Trammell and tenor Chris Allman in 1990. Wolfe sings lead with the trio...

, Cindy Raymond, Henning Heldt, Duke Snider, Gregory Willardson, Richard Weigand, Mitchell Herman, Sharon Thomas, Jane Kember, and Mo Budlong. Kendrick Moxon
Kendrick Moxon
Kendrick Lichty Moxon is a Scientology official and an attorney with the law firm Moxon & Kobrin. He practices in Los Angeles, California, and is a lead counsel for the Church of Scientology. Moxon received a B.A. from American University in 1972, and a J.D. degree from George Mason University in...

 and L. Ron Hubbard
L. Ron Hubbard
Lafayette Ronald Hubbard , better known as L. Ron Hubbard , was an American pulp fiction author and religious leader who founded the Church of Scientology...

 were named unindicted co-conspirators.

Over the course of the investigation the Church of Scientology would attempt to have a judge removed, and would subpoena almost 150 federal agents in what appeared to be a large stalling scheme. The Church would also offer several shifting explanations for their actions. Ultimately, these tactics failed and the defendants agreed to a plea deal.

The Scientologists would be found guilty and their attorneys would be allowed to argue for the suppression of the government’s evidence. 7 of the 11 members of the Guardian’s Office pled guilty to just a single count of conspiracy to obstruct justice. One more pled guilty to a similar charge and a ninth pled guilty to a misdemeanor. The remaining two Scientologists were in England, awaiting extradition.

On December 6, 1979, some five years after Operation Snow White began, it officially came to an end. Five of the Scientologists were sentenced to four years in jail, with four of the convicted being taken immediately. Mary Sue Hubbard, wife of L Ron Hubbard, was sentenced to five years. Each of the six faced a fine of $10,000 dollars. The next day the four remaining Scientologists were sentenced. Three of the four faced a fine of $10,000 and five years in jail. The fourth was fined $1,000 and sent to jail for six months. Upon release Mary Sue Hubbard was given five years of probation and community service. All of the Scientologists immediately began to appeal. Their appeal was rejected.

In November 1980, the two remaining Scientologists, Jane Kember and Mo Budlong, were finally convicted on nine counts of aiding and abetting burglary in connection with break-ins at government offices, and were sentenced to two to six years.

Involved parties


Mary Sue Hubbard
Mary Sue Hubbard
Mary Sue Hubbard was the third wife of L. Ron Hubbard, from 1952 to his death in 1986, and was a leading figure in Scientology for much of her life...

, Cindy Raymond, Gerald Bennett Wolfe, Henning Heldt, Duke Snider, Gregory Willardson, Richard Weigand, Mitchell Herman, Sharon Thomas, Jane Kember, and Mo Budlong, all high-ranking Scientologists, were convicted and sent to prison for five years. L. Ron Hubbard
L. Ron Hubbard
Lafayette Ronald Hubbard , better known as L. Ron Hubbard , was an American pulp fiction author and religious leader who founded the Church of Scientology...

 was named by federal prosecutors as an "unindicted co-conspirator" and went into hiding for the rest of his life.

Effect of the scandal



The Church has been notably reluctant to discuss the operation's details; typical statements by members and operatives are often vague comments saying that the Guardian's Office (GO) had been "infiltrated" and "set up" to fail in its mission to protect the Church, that those involved were "purged" from the Church, without detailing what actually happened (although it has been suggested many of those involved and "purged" remained in important positions of power within the church). Church spokespersons on the Internet and elsewhere have been known to claim that the operatives "had done nothing more serious than steal photocopier paper."

In 2009, Church of Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis said that the jailed members of Guardians Org were declared "suppressive people" (aka "SPs") by the Church of Scientology and had to undergo rehabilitation in order to resume their upper level training in the church.

Operation Snow White extended to Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 and resulted in legal proceedings against the Church.

See also


  • David Gaiman
    David Gaiman
    David Bernard Gaiman was a prominent British member of the Church of Scientology. He and his wife Sheila joined Scientology in the early 1960s and Gaiman served as public relations director and was commonly in the media during the British controversies over Scientology in the 1960s and 1970s.-...

  • List of Guardian's Office operations
  • Scientology controversies
  • Scientology in the United States
    Scientology in the United States
    Scientology was founded in the United States by science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard and is now practiced in many other countries.-History:...


Further reading

  • Jon Atack (1990) A Piece of Blue Sky: Scientology, Dianetics and L. Ron Hubbard Exposed. Lyle Stuart/Carol Publishing Group ISBN 0-8184-0499-X pages 226-241. Online at http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Library/Shelf/atack/ , retrieved 2008-03-19

External links