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NYTimes reports link between Scientology and hack of two who appeared in ‘Going Clear’


[Mike Rinder and Tony Ortega at the Going Clear premiere at the Sundance Film Festival]

New York Times reporter Matthew Goldstein revealed today that before he was sentenced to prison on June 26, private investigator Eric Saldarriaga told Federal District Judge Richard J. Sullivan that he feared for his safety if it became public that he’d tried to help the FBI investigate his clients. In particular, he’d recorded phone calls with his main client, who Saldarriaga now worried “has the means and motive and the opportunity financially to do anything, and to cause great distress to my family.”

That statement was made in the judge’s chambers, and was recorded in a transcript which was unsealed this week. But Judge Sullivan kept hidden the name of the person Saldarriaga was referring to and what outfit the person worked for. But Goldstein now says that the Times has learned that the organization employing Saldarriaga’s client was none other than the Church of Scientology.

The unidentified person that Mr. Saldarriaga taped the phone calls with is described by federal authorities as being one of his main clients in the filing. The client is said to be someone who has done investigations on behalf of the Church of Scientology, said people briefed on the case but not authorized to speak publicly.

The Underground Bunker can now officially say, we told you so.


On June 25, former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder and I went public with the information that the two of us had been notified by the US Attorney that we had been victimized in Saldarriaga’s hacking attacks for hire. Besides both being victims of Saldarriaga, Rinder and I both appeared in Alex Gibney’s recent film on Scientology, Going Clear, and we have each experienced harassment we attribute to the church and its private investigators. We pointed out to Judge Sullivan in our “victim impact statements” that the only organization that would want illegal access to our email accounts was Rinder’s former employer. Any other scenario strained credulity, we pointed out.

Now, the New York Times has come to the same conclusion, and we can now show you the documents which reveal just how afraid Saldarriaga is of his former clients.

We’ve posted the documents that were unsealed this week, below. Eric Saldarriaga’s letter to Judge Sullivan begins on page 7, and contains this telling paragraph, which the Times now indicates is a discussion of Scientology…


The transcript of the discussion that took place in Sullivan’s chambers starts on page 24, and Sullivan wants some justification for Saldarriaga’s request that mention of his cooperation be put under seal. His attorney, Peter Brill, says to the judge that he must know about the “reputation” of the group they’re talking about, and later, on page 8 of the transcript (Page 31 of the pdf), Saldarriaga describes his efforts to help the FBI investigate his client. Here’s just one portion of it…


Our attorney, Scott Pilutik, pointed out that the transcript uses consistent, not proportional, spacing, and so a certain organization’s name would fit that redacted spot perfectly…


Here’s the document — most of which are letters of support from Saldarriaga’s family and former colleagues…

Saldarriaga Order: Letters and transcripts

And a letter from Assistant US Attorney Daniel Noble, the prosecutor in this case, supporting Saldarriaga’s request for redaction.

“Unlike Judge Sullivan, Noble’s letter indicates an unskeptical acceptance of Saldarriaga’s fear of a violent threat,” Pilutik points out…


Saldarriaga Order: Noble letter supporting redaction

Indeed, Sullivan not only was more skeptical than Noble about Saldarriaga’s fears of retaliation, he pointed out, on page 10 of the transcript, that those of us who had submitted victim impact statements had more to worry about…

THE COURT: The people who wrote letters, the victim impact statements, those are not sealed at this point.
MR. NOBLE: No, those are not sealed.
THE COURT: It seems to me that those people are at the risk of greater harassment than Mr. Saldarriaga at this point; yet there’s been no attempts to seal those submissions.

Still, Sullivan held back the name of the person working for Scientology who hired Saldarriaga. So who was it?

“I assume it’s David Lubow based on the fact that he’s been engaged in surveillance and spying against the most prominent Scientology critics over the last decade,” Rinder tells me. “Lubow is the go-to guy for Scientology when it wants dirty deeds done cheap.”

We made numerous attempts to reach Lubow in the last week to try and ask him about this case, but he’s made himself scarce.

We hope the FBI has some interest in looking him up as well.


We didn’t get a chance to include photos in our book, so we’ve posted them at a dedicated page. Reader Sookie put together a complete index and we’re hosting it here on the website. Copies of the paperback version of ‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely’ are on sale at Amazon. The Kindle edition is also available, and shipping instantly.

Our upcoming appearances (and check out the interactive map to our ongoing tour)…

July 12: Washington DC, Hill Center DC-Drummond Hall, Center for Inquiry, 2 pm (with Paulette Cooper)

July 14: Hartford, MARK TWAIN HOUSE (with Tom Tomorrow)

July 17: Denver, The Secular Hub, 7 pm (with Chris Shelton)

July 20: Dallas, Times Ten Cellar, 7 pm (with Robert Wilonsky)

July 22: Houston, Fox and Hound, 11470 Westheimer Road, sponsored by Humanists of Houston

July 24: San Antonio, Folc Restaurant/Park Social, 6 pm

July 25: Austin

July 29: Paris, Le Bistrot Landais, 19:00 (with Jonny Jacobsen)

August 4: London, Conway Hall, (with John Sweeney)

August 24: Boston, Boston Skeptics in the Pub, 7 pm (with Gregg Housh)

Sept 15: Arizona State University

Sept 23: Cleveland

Sept 24: Minneapolis

Sept 27: Portland

Sept 28: Seattle

Sept 30: Vancouver, BC


Posted by Tony Ortega on July 8, 2015 at 16:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. Here at the Bunker we try to have a post up every morning at 7 AM Eastern (Noon GMT), and on some days we post an afternoon story at around 2 PM. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of LA attorney and former church member Vance Woodward

UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists

GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice

SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer
The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill
The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield


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