OSA Press Release (April 23, 1985)

Source  “PR Newswire”
Author  Kenneth Hoden
Date  April 23rd, 19851

LOS  ANGELES,  April  23/PRN  –  Videotapes  made  of  a  church  “sting”  operation
revealed  today  a  bizarre,  multigovernment-agency  “Cointelpro”  plot  designed  to  take
over the control, property and assets of the Church of Scientology, the church reported
today.

The  operation,  which  the  church  said  was  approved  by  a  Los  Angeles  police  officer,
allegedly  involved  agents  of  the  Los  Angeles  Internal  Revenue  Service  criminal
investigation division.

Church  attorney  John  Peterson  said  Cointelpro  is  an  “unconstitutional  FBI
counterintelligence program that created a public outcry and was supposedly cancelled in
the 1970s, but is still obviously very much alive and in operation in the United States
today.”

The videotapes – already filed in evidence in a Federal court here and shown today at a
Los Angeles news conference – disclosed, according to Peterson, “that special agents of
the  IRS  criminal  investigation  division  (CID)  conspired  with  a  government  operative,
Gerry Armstrong, in an illegal and covert-intelligence plot in violation of constitutional
rights and freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment.”

The church said the conspiracy was brought to light when a private investigator, working
under  the  supervision  of  a  church  attorney,  obtained  written  permission  from  a  Los
Angeles  police  officer  to  videotape  clandestine  meetings  between  Armstrong  and  a
church staff member.

According to the church, the investigator taped the meetings, which took place in Los
Angeles’ Griffith Park, to document the Cointelpro operation being planned against the
church.

Peterson said the government agencies and individual officials identified by Armstrong in
the videotapes include:

– Alan P. Lipkin and Alfonse V. Ristuccia, agents of the criminal investigation division of
the Los Angeles IRS office;

– Richard Greenberg, assistant U.S. attorney in Washington;
– Thomas Doughty, special assistant U.S. attorney for the FBI in Washington;

– Brackett Denniston III, assistant U.S. attorney in Boston;

– the Florida State Attorney General’s office; and

– Al Ciampini, detective sergeant of the Ontario Provincial Police.

Peterson said the intricacies  of  this  “lawless conspiracy” were spelled out in detail by
Armstrong,  former  church  clerk  turned  federal  witness/government  informant,  during
secret  meetings  he  had  with  two  members  of  the  Church  of  Scientology  –  “Joey”  and
“Mike”  –  who  pretended  to  Armstrong  that  they  were  dissatisfied  with  current  church
leadership and wished to “improve matters internally.”

In  the  videotapes,  Peterson  alleged,  Armstrong  is  seen  carrying  out  orders  from  the
government  agencies  and  his  Boston  lawyer,  Michael  Flynn,  who  were  “directing  and
supervising  him  in  their  carefully  orchestrated,  covert-intelligence  plan  to  overthrow
current church leadership and seize the church’s sizable property and assets.”

Armstrong’s secret meetings with the “Loyalists” – the fictitious group of which Joey and
Mike  were  supposedly  members  –  which  were  videotaped  without  Armstrong’s
knowledge, unfolded what Peterson termed “the government-Flynn plans” to:

“- Create and plant forged documents in church files;

– Steal attorney-client privileged information from the church;

– Suborn perjury to cover up the conspiracy; and

– Engineer the filing of a suit written by Flynn, based on false allegations, which was
designed to obtain a receivership of all properties and assets of the church.”

Peterson  said  the  existence  of  such  a  “shameless  and  shocking”  conspiracy  involving
Flynn,  Armstrong  and  government  agencies  and  officials  is  corroborated  and  detailed
over and over again in the videotapes.

“The evidence in these tapes,” Peterson said, “confirms that the government conspired
with  Flynn,  secretly  protecting  and  aiding  him  both  to  obtain  information  about  the
church and to exert legal pressure against the church through an outrageously abusive and
harassive series of suits that now total more than a billion dollars.”

As Armstrong revealed in the videotapes, his goal was “global settlement” of all of the
Flynn-contrived  lawsuits  against  the  church.  The  method  for  achieving  this,  he  said,
would be through the new church leaders, who would take over after the Flynn-drafted
suit for the Loyalists was successful in ousting the current church executives.
Peterson pointed out that the Flynn-inspired lawsuit, if successful, would have allowed
the  government  to  manipulate  the  church  from  the  top  while  seizing  its  property  and
assets. The suit was never filed, Peterson added, and the government scheme to infiltrate
and overturn the management of the church was successfully thwarted.

He said the videotapes make it clear that while Armstrong was exchanging information
regularly with his lawyer, Michael Flynn, he was at the same time attempting to cover up
Flynn’s involvement in the conspiracy.

In  Armstrong’s  own  words:  “By  the  way,  I’ll  never  admit  that  anything  comes  from
Michael (Flynn), including any complaints which I may have drafted … But I’m telling
you, he’s behind it 100 percent, absolutely behind it.

Contact – Rev. Ken Hoden of the Church of Scientology, 213-666-3424

Notes