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DOX: The full FBI file from its 2009-2010 human trafficking investigation of Scientology

[What an FBI raid based on these documents might have looked like]

Several weeks ago, we got access to the FBI’s file on its 2009-2010 human trafficking investigation of the Church of Scientology when Melissa Cronin of RadarOnline shared her copy with us, with certain restrictions.

Now we’ve received an additional copy of the file thanks to journalist Emma Best, who is suing the FBI over numerous document requests she has made. Our new copy comes without restrictions, and so today we’re making the entire file available for you to go through, page by page. (The Bunker’s own request, made more than two years ago, is taking longer and we are hoping that it means the release will be more comprehensive.)

Lawrence Wright first revealed in his 2011 New Yorker article about Paul Haggis that the FBI was investigating Scientology for the way it treated its Sea Org workers. But as we explained later, by the time Wright made that public, the FBI had already ended its probe.

As you’ll see in the file, for several months the FBI took very seriously its plunge into Sea Org life, which it code-named Operation Base Overboard. Former Sea Org officials like Marty Rathbun, Mike Rinder, Marc and Claire Headley, Amy Scobee, Tom DeVocht, and John Brousseau were interviewed, though their names have been redacted in this release. We also recognized, beginning on page 142, the interview of former Scientology member Nazanin Boniadi, who was recruited to be the girlfriend of Tom Cruise.

Based on the interviews, the FBI believed that Sea Org life amounted to labor trafficking…


Based on interviews of former Sea org members (hereinafter Complainants), the Church of Scientology (COS) tricks young Scientologists into joining the Sea Org, promising good salaries, regular work hours, vacation and family visits. However, once Sea Org members begin their service, they are housed and held at secure locations where they work 15 hour days in various positions for Scientology-based companies. Sea Org members are given no days off, and are permitted only limited and monitored contact with anyone outside the camps where they live and work.

We heard from numerous informants who cooperated in the investigation that the FBI was very close to raiding Scientology’s Int Base near Hemet. But that raid didn’t happen, and no charges were brought against the church. And there’s nothing in the file to indicate why the probe ended. What happened?

Lawrence Wright, in the movie Going Clear, suggests that when a lawsuit for labor trafficking brought against the church by the Headleys failed in court, it convinced the FBI that it would also have a tough time with a prosecution. But we have another view, based on what Marc Headley and others told us.

So anyway, here’s the entire file. We’re looking forward to hearing what strikes you as particularly interesting, or what gems we might have missed in it. Have at it!


FBI Trafficking Full by Scott Pilutik on Scribd


Scientology disconnection, a reminder
Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,849 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 1,832 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,606 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 1,952 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,446 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,486 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,198 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 724 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,813 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 1,953 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,273 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,248 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 604 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 4,906 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,013 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,415 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,288 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 869 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,374 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,618 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,727 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on August 21, 2017 at 07:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2016 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2016), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. 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

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | 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 | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | 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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