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Paulette Cooper - The Other Story

The Bomb Threats


One of the accusations and examples of harassment that is often being used by critics is the CoS alleged attempt to frame Paulette Cooper for bomb threat. As this was never actually proven at the time, critics claim that documents unraveled during the FBI raid proved that it was really a CoS frame up.

While the CoS may very well be the author of the attempt indeed, taking into account the scope of G.O. operations, the logic and arguments to support this contention are frown with serious errors and misconceptions.

  1. The reasoning itself is a typical case of reverse post hoc, ergo propter hoc - confusion of cause and effect. It *may* very well be that Operation Freakout was a rehash of a similar operation the Cos may have run against Cooper, BUT, it *may* also very well be that the plan was instead suggested to them *by* this incident, and that the CoS just tried to use this precedent to their advantage. While this explanation is just as speculative as the first one, wondrous critics don't seem to even think about this alternative, which pretty much cancels the proof value of their argument.

  2. Critics claim the FBI exonarated Cooper after the discovery of Operation Freakout documents. This is false. The FBI never made any official comments in this sense. What happened is that Russel Cicero, an FBI agent and personal friend of Paulette Cooper, called her two years before the documents were officially released to tell her that they contained evidence that she was innocent. There wasn't anything official in that call and, in fact, Cicero most probably did so in violation of FBI's regulations and of ongoing confidentiality of litigation.

  3. The FBI simply had no reasons to "exonarate Cooper" of the first incident, as the charges were *already* dropped two years prior to the raid. Not that Cooper's innocence or the Co'S guilt was proved one way or the other, but, after having failed a lie detector test, Cooper asked to undergo a Sodium Pentatol test which turned in her favor. Even though such test is even less reliable than a lie detector test and neither are valid in court, the procecussion decided that, if Cooper accepted to undergo a year of psychiatric treatment, they would drop the charges.

Thus, while the bomb threat *may* have been a CoS setup, it's only a speculation, even though critics will have no hesitation to repeatedly present it as an established fact. The CoS itself, for its part, seems convinced that Paulette Cooper was the author of the first bomb threat attempt, and were quite upset when she got away with it, claiming that the charges against Cooper were dropped only after the Assistant US Attorney who was prosecuting her case was replaced by an AUSA who was more sympathetic to her (i.e., prejudiced against the CoS). We will probably never know the whole truth, but one thing we know for sure: there are no definite proof one way or the other, and to present one or the other version as a established fact is deceptive.

All excerpts below are taken from posts made by Diane Richardson. Links to the full post version in Deja.com are provided. (Note: since Deja.com has removed old posts from its server these are not available now, but should hopefully get back on line at a later date).

The FBI made no official comments about Paulette Cooper's innocence upon discovery of Operation Freakout.

Usenet post from the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology.

(Message has been erased from Google)

Diane Richardson



While the image of Paulette Cooper discovering the details of Operation Freakout by raking "though a mountain of FBI-seized cult documents" is compelling, it is totally inaccurate.

The documents seized by the FBI in the July 1977 raid on the CoS were not released to the general public until 23 Nov 1979. This was *after* the conviction of Mary Sue Hubbard and her fellow Scientologists. (See, for example, "Scientologists Plotted Leak Campaign," The Washington Post, 24 Nov 1979.)

Paulette Cooper was informed by the FBI of these documents more than two years before they were made public. In fact, she was told about them just months after the FBI raid occurred.

In an interview published in The New York Times, she describes how she
actually learned about the plot:

"'On Oct 12, 1977, I was working at my desk, and I received a phone call from someone with the F.B.I,' Miss Cooper said. 'He told me that there was evidence that after all these years, I was innocent.'" ("Author of a Book on Scientology Tells of Her 8 Years of Torment," The New York Times, 22 Jan 1979, p. A14.)

By the middle of 1978, federal prosecutors were confirming that a grand jury investigation of the "Church" was taking place in the Southern District of New York. (See, for example, "Author Files $20-Million Suit Against Scientologists," Publishers Weekly, 21 Aug 1978, vol. 214, no. 8.) What became of this investigation, and why no indictments emerged from it, is unknown to me at this time.

Paulette Cooper filed a lawsuit against the "Church" of Scientology[tm] on 9 August 1978, citing Operation Freakout harassment and asking for $20 million in damages. This was more than one year before the FBI-seized documents were made public and two and one-half years before she hired Michael Flynn of Boston to represent her.


Usenet post from the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology.

Source: Monica's Response to Diane Re Operation Freakout

Diane Richardson


Message-ID: <57pld1$3ra@clark.zippo.com>

What evidence do you have that they "changed their minds" after the raid? Cooper was not officially informed about the existence of the Operation Freakout documents; rather, a personal friend of hers--who happened to be an FBI agent who had been assigned to her case--telephoned her with the news. The documents seized in the FBI raid were under seal. Russell Cicero was not acting in an official capacity when he phoned Cooper about the Operation Freakout documents; in fact, he was very likely violating FBI regulations and a court order by doing so.

Cooper cultivated a number of friendships among FBI agents and Assistant U.S. Attorneys involved in investigating and prosecuting the CoS. She pumped these people for information that could help her in her civil suits against the CoS. In her taped conversations, she makes it quite clear that she was aware of the fact that what she was doing could get these Justice Department officials in a lot of trouble.

The fact that Russell Cicero telephoned Paulette Cooper in October 1977 to tell her about the Operation Freakout documents was not official recognition by the FBI or the U.S. Attorney's Office that she was henceforth "exonerated." It was a friend calling another friend with a juicy piece of gossip. Cooper's lawyers spent quite a lot of time later trying to show that she had learned about the Freakout documents from sources other than her friend in the FBI.

Cicero continued feeding information from FBI files to Cooper that could help her in her lawsuits against the CoS. He provided her with telephone numbers of CoS "operatives" who Cooper and her lawyers wanted to use as witnesses but who they were unable to locate themselves. Cooper was fully aware that what Cicero was doing could get him in trouble. That is why she refused to tape her conversations with Cicero for Bast, even though she was more than willing to volunteer information she received from Cicero to Bast.

Dropping of the charges against Paulette Cooper had nothing to do with the FBI discovery of Operation Freakout.

Diane Richardson


Message-ID: <57dle3$52l@clark.zippo.com>#1/1

If you had read my post rather than snipped it, you would have read Nan McLean's testimony that Paulette Cooper herself was not at all sure that she hadn't actually sent the bomb threats herself back in 1973, before she took a sodium pentathol test to assure herself that she had not.


Diane Richardson


Message-ID: <57hgmo$ldr@clark.zippo.com>

Cooper, on her own initiative and at her own expense, underwent an examination under sodium pentathol . Cooper has stated, both here and in the media, that the government dropped the charges against her based on the results of that exam.

Under deposition, Cooper stated that she underwent the sodium pentathol examination on her own initiative. She also stated that no written report of the results of that examination were ever produced. She *did*, however, state that the results of the exam were verbally communicated to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

I presume, based on the evidence I have (admittedly incomplete), that the prosecutor in the case forwarded the proposal that led to the filing of the Nolle Prosequi *after* they learned the results of her examination under sodium pentathol. That chain of events sounds logical to me:

Cooper underwent a sodium pentathol exam. The physician administering the exam contacted the AUSA and told the AUSA that Cooper did not send the bomb threats. The AUSA then proposed that Cooper undergo one year of psychiatric therapy, and that prosecution of her case would be dropped after she completed the agreed-upon psychiatric therapy. Cooper completed one year of psychiatric therapy and the Nolle Prosequi was filed, ending prosecution of her indictment.

This chain of events has nothing to do with the unearthing of the Operation Freakout documents, which occurred two years *after* the fact.


Usenet post from the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology.


Diane Richardson


Message-ID: <32a49232.7796878@news> (as quoted)

Jack Fleming <lrhoovr@azstarnet.com>:

>>Maureen, your analysis is also consistent with Paulette Cooper's statements in Clearwater (Corydon, "Messiah or Madman"):

 "The government did not drop the charges and, for two years after all this, I still had to worry on a daily basis whether one day there was going to be a trial...[snip]"

>> Corydon states: "By 1975, the charges had been dropped."

Please note here that the nol pros was filed on 16 September 1975. Cooper makes it plain here, as elsewhere, that the charges against her were dropped long before Operation Freakout was even *written*, let alone seized by the FBI in their raid on CoS headquarters.

mgarde@superlink.net (Maureen Garde):

>Here's what I got from the “60 minutes” transcript in 2985:

PC: And as a result I was arrested. I was indicted on three counts. I faced up to 15 years in jail if I was convicted. The whole ordeal fighting these charges took eight months. It cost me $19,000 in legal fees. I went into such a depression, I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, I couldn't write. I went down to 83 pounds. Finally I took and passed a sodium pentathol, or truthserum, test and the government dropped the charges against me in 1975.

>This is an interesting way of stating what happened. Paulette doesn't expressly state that the government dropped the charges because of the sodium pentathol test, but the juxtaposition of the test and the dismissal of the charges certainly permits that inference, doesn't it.

She says the same thing repeatedly, which is why I raised this issue. I'm willing to believe Cooper's assertion that the sodium pentathol examination had something to do with the dismissal of charges, even though the exam isn't mentioned in the nol pros.

Here's a statement from the verified complaint in Paulette Cooper v. Church of Scientology of New York, Inc., Supreme Court of the State of New York County of New York, Index No. 13728, filed 9 Aug 1978 by her attorney Paul D. Rheingold (note that this is Cooper's *second* lawsuit against the CoS filed in this court).

"14. On May 17, 1973, based upon the complaint of defendant, a federal grand jury indicted plaintiff on three charges: two counts of sending a bomb threat letter through the mail and one count of perjury for denying the said acts; and on May 27, she was accordingly arrested and arraigned.

15. Thereafter plaintiff who was wholly innocent of the charges was forced to spend great time and monies and to retain the services of legal counsel to seek to avoid the conviction on the above charges, which carried with them individually a maximum punishment of a five year prison sentence and a $5,000 fine.

16. As a result of her efforts and those of her counsel, plaintiff was able sufficiently to demonstrate her innocence so that charges against plaintiff were dismissed finally in 1975."

Paulette Cooper has *never* made the statement, from what I've seen, that the charges against her were dismissed because of the seizure of the Operation Freakout documents being seized by the FBI in 1977. It's only her supporters who seem to forward this claim.


Usenet post from the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology.


Diane Richardson


Message-ID: <5807bd$b5b@clark.zippo.com>#1/1

Jack Fleming <lrhoovr@azstarnet.com>:

>The following is taken from Corydon's "Madman or Messiah." It is an excerpt from Paulette's Clearwater testimony:

"And finally we did find a doctor two weeks before the trial who gave me a sodium pentathol test. I was unconscious for seven hours.

I don't know what was said during that [time].

I do know, that when I came to, my mother was standing there, and I said, "What happened, What did I say?" And she just said, "It's O.K. It's all over. There won't be a trial."

The government wanted to save face because they don't like to admit that they've made a mistake. So, they said that  they...would postpone the trial. But they would not actually drop the charges at that time.

The government did not drop the charges and, for two years after all this, I still had to worry on a daily basis whether one day there was going to be a trial...[snip]"

That's what I said, Jack. They dropped the charges after she took the sodium pentathol test. As I stated before, I am presuming that the Assistant U.S. Attorney offered to drop the indictment against Cooper if she would undergo one year of psychiatric therapy *after* she had undergone the examination under sodium pentathol.

It took closer to two years rather than one year for the agreement between Cooper and the Assistant U.S. Attorney to be fulfilled. This was due to Cooper's delay in selecting a psychiatrist and beginning her required year of psychotherapy. The indictment was dismissed as soon as Cooper had complied with the agreement and completed one full year of therapy.

> Further testimony from Paulette:

"On October 12, 1977, the FBI called me. Now, remember, this was a five-year period that I had never been able to prove my innocence; the government considered me a criminal. I had a quote, record, end quote.

That's right. The FBI raided CoS headquarters in July 1977. Cooper's friend Russell Cicero, who worked for the FBI, called her on 12 Oct of that year to tell her about the Operation Freakout document.

That was more than two years *after* Cooper stated that the charges against her had been dropped.

And the FBI called me out of the blue and said, 'We have  just received evidence that you were innocent of those original charges.'

Well, Russell Cicero was an FBI agent. He was also Cooper's friend. It appears as though he contacted her as a friend and not in his official capacity when he told her the news.


Usenet post from the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology.


Diane Richardson


Message-ID: <584r2f$30j@clark.zippo.com>

nobody@cypherpunks.ca (John Anonymous MacDonald):

> you said in another post that the deciding factor for the government was the sodium pentathol test. but that must have happened in 1973. now you're saying they decided it in 1975.

No, I stated that *Paulette Cooper* claimed the deciding factor for the government was the sodium pentathol test. She made this claim numerous times, several of which have been posted on this thread by others.

I suggested that because of Cooper's insistence that the charges were dropped because of the sodium pentathol exam, perhaps the result of that exam was a factor in the Assistant U.S. Attorney offering her the option of undergoing a year of psychiatric therapy rather than defending herself against the charges in court. The sodium pentathol test is not mentioned in portion of the Nolle Prosequi that I've seen. The Nolle Prosequi *only* mentions Cooper's completion of one year of psychiatric therapy as the reason for dropping the charges.

> maybe we need a timeline for this.

It's very simple:

19 May 1973 -- Cooper indicted by grand jury for bomb threat and perjury

29 May 1973 -- Cooper arrested and arraigned on bomb threat and perjury charges

October 1973 -- Cooper hires Dr. David Codden to administer a "truth serum" examination.

October 1973 -- Assistant U.S. Attorney prosecuting Cooper's criminal case makes an agreement with Cooper that charges against her will be dropped if she undergoes one year of psychiatric therapy.

1974 -- Delay while Cooper selects a psychiatrist and begins therapy.

16 September 1975 -- U.S. Attorney files a Nolle Prosequi, dropping the charges against Paulette Cooper. The Nolle Prosequi notes that Cooper has completed the agreed-upon year of therapy.


False Indictment - Nan Stupid Honesty - Forcible Depogramming - Cooper's DeclarationThe Bomb Threat - ARS Lynch Mob - Blased  Jornalism - Censorship - Humor

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