Scientology Critical Information Directory

This site is best viewed using a highly standards-compliant browser

Church accused of spying on, stealing from IRS

Title: Church accused of spying on, stealing from IRS
Date: Saturday, 9 July 1977
Publisher: Chronicle-Telegram
Main source: link (309 KiB)

Disclaimer: This archive is presented strictly in the public interest for research purposes. All the copyrights of materials reproduced here are the properties of their respective owners.

WASHINGTON — An obscure church group which had tax problems with the federal government successfully infiltrated and bugged the Internal Revenue Service, stealing hundreds of confidential documents, the Justice Department admitted yesterday.

FBI agents uncovered the documents in simultaneous raids on Church of Scientology offices in Los Angeles and Washington after obtaining a search warrant.

The affidavit for the warrant contended that the church, established in the early 1950s by L. Ron Hubbard, launched an "all out attack" on the IRS three years ago. The church also repeatedly broke into offices at the U.S. District Courthouse where the famed Watergate trials were held, stealing tax records, the Justice Department said.

ALTHOUGH SECURITY has been tightened in federal buildings since a spate of bombings in the early 1970s, church members had easy access to the courthouse and other buildings by using IRS credentials obtained by a man who had been recruited to infiltrate the IRS.

The man was hired as an IRS clerk-typist in Washington in November 1974.

The most daring operation against the government was the bugging of an IRS conference room at Washington headquarters. The church members were able to tune in to a high level session called specifically to discuss the Church of Scientology and future government plans for dealing with the church.

Michael Meisner, a church member who is cooperating with the government, said that two other members were able to slip into the headquarters to plant the listening device without any difficulties.

When the church learned in March 1975 that IRS was auditing its Hawaii organization, several members repeatedly broke into the office of an IRS attorney and copied every record concerning the audit, the government affidavit alleged.

ONE MEMBER broke into a Justice Department annex in Washington four times and carried out a thick pile of documents on tax matters relating to the Church.

Meisner said he entered the District courthouse last May using IRS credentials and made several other entries into the building to look through Justice Department files Meisner surrendered voluntarily to federal authorities June 20.

The FBI raid was made to uncover what the Justice Department described as documents involved in a conspiracy to steal from the government. There were no arrests made yesterday but last May, Gerald Wolfe, who had obtained the job as a clerk-typist, pleaded guilty to false use of a government seal.

Among the documents the FBI allegedly recovered were correspondence between members of the International Police Organization, INTERPOL, which has been conducting a wide ranging probe of the church, as well as numerous tax records and State Department cables.