"Vaughn, don't go upstairs. We're being raided by the FBI."
Scientology's Dept. 20 - a memoir
Part 2 - The Raid
by Robert Vaughn Young
"Vaughn, don't go upstairs. We're being raided by the FBI."
I stopped in my tracks, stunned. It was about 9 o'clock in the morning and
I was walking up the backside of the Manor, from the parking lot when
someone had intervened. From where I stood now at the entrance to the
patio, there was nothing unusual. I had parked in the adjoining lot and
hadn't noticed anything unusual. I looked at the lobby perhaps 70 feet in
front of me. People were milling about and there were definitely too many
people in dark suits for this hour.
"What the hell are you talking about!" I asked in complete puzzlement. FBI
raid? It was unthinkable.
"The FBI," he said breathlessly. "They're upstairs, both floors. They're
all over the place. We're being raided. No one's to go up."
My numbed shock turned to outrage. The FBI in _our_ offices? What in the
hell! I strode ahead into the lobby, getting madder with each step.
Several people that I recognized were milling about, as if lost. A half
dozen men in dark suits, some with earplugs and FBI identification badges
hanging from their breast pockets were standing in two groups, reviewing
some papers. One was talking into a walkie-talkie. One of our people was
taking pictures with a tiny camera. Good. As I entered, I could see a suit
was at the reception desk and another at the front doors, prohibiting
anyone but agents with breast badges from entering. Without a pause, I
left turned at the reception desk and headed to the elevator, about 20
feet away. An agent stood in front of the closed door.
"The elevator cannot be used," he said with a stone face.
Without a word, I continued past him to the freight elevator immediately
around the corner. No one was guarding it and the elevator was there. I
pulled the old, metal accordion gate back, listening to the rattle and
squeaks, wondering if the agents would hear it, then stepped in, closed it
and pushed the button for the sixth floor.
I had traveled this elevator and the other for four years but this one was
the longest ride ever. I watched the chipped, dirty walls of the floors
slide by as the ancient box squeaked upward. FBI. FBI. All I could think
was FBI. How the hell. What the hell. How could it happen? What are they
doing? There was no doubt they were the enemy but they aren't supposed to
do that! They can't do it! Why, why, why? FBI, FBI, FBI. Our function from
the day we were formed in 1966 was to attack the enemy and to protect the
organization from attack. How could this happen?
The elevator strained to a halt and I pulled the doors open to find an
agent standing outside in the hall. They were beginning to all look alike.
They were the enemy.
"Where do you think you're going," he asked.
"To my _office_," I snarled through clenched teeth as I stepped around
him, biting off the word "asshole" before I said it. For whatever reason,
he said nothing as I turned the corner and moved down the short hallway.
Directly ahead of me at the other end was the office of the Deputy
Guardian for the US, Henning Heldt's. Across from it was the Office of the
Controller, Mary Sue Hubbard, manned by several staff who sent reports to
her. There was a gaggle of agents in that direction, some hauling boxes
towards the elevator I was denied. Some were moving between the two
offices. At the t-junction in the middle, I turned to my right and headed
down the long hallway. Odd, I thought. This one was empty. No agents.
Farther down on the left was the two doors to the Legal Bureau and across
from them were the two to the Public Relations Bureau, where I worked. All
doors were closed.
I stopped at the PR bureau door and knocked as I looked back to my right,
at agents passing back and forth at the other end.
"Who is it?" came a muffled voice.
"Vaughn," I said as I watched the other end of the hall.
The old, dark brown door cracked open as a face looked at me and then
swung open. I stepped in. Four staff were standing about, clearly stunned.
A women was sitting at a desk in the corner crying, while another consoled
"Artie wants you," I was told as the door closed and locked behind me.
Artie's office was immediately to the right, normally accessed only by the
other hall door. But now the connecting door was open. I stepped in. Artie
was at his desk, pale, clearly shaken. Another four or so PR staff were
standing about the small office.
"How did you get up here?" Artie asked with a touch of incredulity.
"Elevator," I said. "What the hell is going on?"
"We're being raided by the FBI," he said. I felt like saying, "No shit,"
but bit my tongue. "Right now they're hitting Henning's and the
Controller's office. They're also raiding B1 at the Complex and the DC
org. They haven't come down here yet. We gotta work out what to do."
What was left of my stomach fell out the bottom. That explained why the
agents were all at the other end of the building for now. B1 was Bureau
One, the Intelligence Bureau. Several months ago, B1 had moved over to the
block-long complex of buildings being converted over on Sunset Boulevard.
If the FBI was hitting them, we were in deep shit. Why the DC org, I
couldn't figure and didn't want to ask. Our first problem was right here.
"What are they after?" I asked.
"They have a search warrant as long as your arm," someone said. "Whole
long list of Guardian Orders and program files, including Snow White."
My now-empty stomach took the blow.
"Shit," I said aloud. "I'll be right back."
Nobody said anything. I guess they were still too stunned. Artie merely
nodded blankly as I turned and went back into the PR Bureau. It didn't
look as if anyone had moved and the tears were still flowing in the
corner. I took up the ancient marble stairs to the next floor where we
kept the Snow White section. Jeff and our admin person was there. He was
as paler than Artie and the others but he seemed relieved to see me.
"Did you know we're being raided by the FBI?" he asked, his voice breaking
slightly. I was beginning to wonder if I sounded as worried. Probably so
but I didn't really have time to stop and wonder.
"Yeah, yeah, Jeff," I said as I headed for my filing cabinet. "I just came
up from Artie's office."
"What's going to happen?" he asked as I pulled open the top drawer.
"I don't know, Jeff," I said as I looked for the "hot file." "I gotta do
The "hot file" contained documents that we had been sent by B1. At the top
they were stamped, "Non-FOIA," meaning they were not obtained through the
Freedom of Information Act.
When the Legal Bureau got documents from an agency through an FOIA
request, , they were stamped, "FOIA" at the top, with the name of the
agency it came from. The "Non-FOIA" documents came directly in from B1,
sometimes from Cindy, one of our Snow White counterparts over there. We
had been briefed that the documents were not for public use, meaning we
couldn't release them beyond our office. They were intended merely to keep
us briefed on what was out there and what we were dealing with. It was up
to us to "sanitize" the information contained, if we used them.
The documents were always from some government office, such as Interpol's
US office in Washington, DC, the Department of Justice office in
Washington, DC, and the Internal Revenue Service, Washington, DC. One time
I asked Cindy how they came by them, violating a basic unwritten code to
never ask B1 what they do. (Then again, I never imagined they were
obtained by burglary.) Cindy smiled and said, "Oh, we have friends who
help out." I never thought about it again until a few minutes earlier. I
have no idea why the connection was made in Artie's office but I knew I
had to get them out of my files before the FBI walked in.
Because we never really kept the "Non-FOIA" documents around for long, the
file was blissfully small. There were only about ten sheets of paper in
it. Good. I yanked them out of the folder and flipped through them. There
were a few from US Interpol office and the rest were from the Department
of Justice. I slammed the drawer shut.
"Artie said they're after Snow White," Jeff said, his voice tense and
"Yeah, I heard," I tried to think what to do now. I went into the bathroom
and checked the toilet. Typical of a raid, the water was turned off. The
worse news was that someone had already flushed it, using the stored
water. I'd have that problem in each room in the building. I had to get
these papers out of the Manor. I folded them up and shoved them into my
pocket and headed back down the stairs to the same scene as before and
stuck my head into Artie's office.
"I'll be right back," I said.
"Where are you going?" Artie asked.
"Out. I have to do something. I'll be right back."
Before anyone could ask more, I moved to the hall door.
"Someone lock it," I said as I unbolted it and stepped into the hall. The
door closed behind me and the deadbolt went into place as I headed down
the hall to the parade of agents moving back and forth in front of me.
Straight ahead, at the junction, was the Snow White Programs Office. Two
agents were standing in front of the closed door. I wondered how Linda was
At the junction, I turned left. Agents were still loading boxes into the
elevator but, by sheer luck, the freight elevator was still there. So was
the agent I had passed a few minutes earlier.
You're out of your fucking mind, Young, I told myself as I walked towards
him. They're looking for Snow White documents and now you're carrying the
hottest ones. How do I explain it, I wondered. "Uh, homework?"
The agent watched me as I approached. He said nothing.
"Now I'm leaving," I said tersely. I knew he probably had every right to
search me but my hands were empty and the papers were tightly folded into
my back pants pocket.
He nodded so I opened the door, stepped in, pulled it closed and pushed
As the tired elevator clanked it's way down, I took my first deep breath
as my mind raced. I had no idea what I was doing or where I would go but I
had to do something. As each floor creaked past, I tried to focus on them,
to steady my rage and my fear. We had planned for every contingency but we
hadn't planned for this. Not once had anyone ever thought, let alone
believed or suggested, that we would be raided by the feds. That was why
everyone was in such shock. The unthinkable, the impossible had happened.
The very wall that was built to protect Scientology and LRH had been
breached and we couldn't stop it.
When the elevator came to a halt, I pulled the two doors back and stepped
out, allowing it to shut itself, and turned to the right into the lobby.
More suits with flaps out the breast pocket and one ear wired to something
through the collar. Some staff were being interviewed by agents with
clipboards. I have no idea why I did it, but I headed for the front door,
rather than slipping back out the patio. I didn't even think back door. It
was as if something had taken me over, a rage that demanded that I regain
territory that was mine to walk. I was going to go out the front door
because it was _my_ front door. The agent looked up at me as I pushed the
tall door open and flashed him a half-smile while an obscene remark ran
through my head. He said nothing as I walked out to the front steps and my
The front of the Manor was a circus. I had no idea this was going on.
There were TV crews, radio crews, newspaper reporters, still
photographers, spectators, staff, students, all being held back by police
and FBI agents. Great, Young, let's pick a nice, quiet place to slip out,
I tried to act as nonchalant as I could as I walked down the steps and
into the crowd. Fortunately, no one recognized me and the emphasis was on
holding the people back, not on keeping them from leaving. I pushed into
the crowd at the sidewalk and slipped past a TV crew that was shoving a
camera and microphone into an agent's face and asking about the raid.
Breaking through the other side, I walked across the narrow street to an
sprawling two-story apartment complex that mostly contained
Scientologists. Someone there would have water. I hoped. People were
standing in front of it, watching the circus across the street. I
recognized one of them and he nodded.
"What's going on over there," he asked. "I heard there is an FBI raid."
"Something like that," I said hurriedly. "Can I use your bathroom?"
"Uh...sure," he said, taken aback by my request.
I followed him to his apartment where he showed me the bathroom. Inside, I
shut the door and turned on the sink faucet. Water flowed. Good. I pulled
the papers out of my pocket and tore them into small pieces and fed them
into the toilet bowl. Four flushes later, I was done and stepped out to
find him waiting, probably wondering why I had to keep flushing the
"Thanks, I said," something I ate last night.
He broke into a smile, obviously relieved.
Back outside, I looked across to the Manor. There was no way to breech
that front door so I turned to my right and walked around to the back
side, where I had come in before but agents were now guarding the area.
Rather than take a chance, I doubled back into the underground garage,
taking the stairs up into the lobby and then to the elevator. At least I
knew the layout. And my luck was holding. No one was watching the
elevator. I was beginning to wonder how long my luck would run. At the
sixth floor, it held again. There was no one waiting, so I turned and
headed towards the t-junction, watching agents at the other end of the
hall. It was unreal. None of our people were in the halls and none of
these people belonged here and they were moving back and forth without
even noticing me. It was a surreal dream.
As I started to turn to my right, my eyes fell on the closed Snow White
Programmes door to my left. The agents who had been there earlier had
moved away from it. Apparently their presence had been mere coincidence.
Attached to the door with two thumb tacks was a piece of white 8 1/2 by 11
paper that said in large letters, "Snow White Programmes" with red
impressions of the "Snow White - Top Priority" stamp that we used on all
of our dispatches. My guess was that by some dint of blind sheer luck, no
one had read it. Now it was hanging out there like a neon sign saying,
I sauntered up to the door and pressed my back against it, as if I was
merely hanging out, watching the agents. The odd part of my perceived
behavior was that there was no one else in the halls but agents. Didn't
anyone wonder why I was hanging out? Oh well. As several passed by me,
moving between Henning's office and the elevator, I reached up behind me,
pushing my hand up between my shoulder blades, trying to find the piece of
paper. I couldn't feel it and I didn't want to turn around and draw
attention to myself. Glancing casually about and seeing that no one was
really watching me, I raised myself on my toes and my fingers found the
paper. The tearing sound as it came off the thumb tacks seemed to be a
roar. I pulled it down and folded it as I turned and knocked lightly on
"Who is it?" came the muffled voice of Linda.
"Vaughn," I said, my mouth up to the door jam.
I stepped in. Her office was untouched but Linda was visibly rattled. I
unfolded the paper and handed it to her.
"This was on your door."
"Oh, my god," she said, as she took it. At least she didn't tell me that
the FBI was raiding us.
"They haven't hit you yet?"
She shook her head, her mouth moving but unable to form words.
"Good," I said as I patted her arm. "I have to get back to PR. Keep the
door locked and you may get lucky."
As it would turn out, the agents never raided her office. When I found out
at the end of the day, it was the best news possible. Linda's files
contained every order and every report on every Snow White program in the
US, including B1's. How they missed it, we never knew. Besides the sign,
her office was right next door to Henning's, although there was no door
between them. I hoped that my stunt had helped. What I didn't know then
was what the agents were already finding here, across town at B1 and 3,000
miles away in Washington, DC.
She let me out and I went back to Artie's office.
"Where did you go?" he asked as I entered.
"I had to get rid of something."
He shrugged. "Doesn't matter. We've decided what to do."
"What?" I said, almost afraid to ask.
"We're going to hold a press conference in a couple of hours across town,
to pull the media away from here. We've got the room reserved. We think
you should be the spokesman."
I was about to enter a whole new level of hell.
---------------------------------end of part 2
Copyright (c) 1997 by Robert Vaughn Young
All Rights Reserved