How Scientology Spied on Tom Cruise

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Tom Cruise and David Miscavige in happy times
Three former Church of Scientology officials tell the Voice that for years -- at least between 1991 and 2005 -- church leader David Miscavige kept a close watch on Tom Cruise with the use of a man named Michael Doven, who served as Cruise's personal assistant.

For much of that time, 1991 to 2001, Cruise, one of Scientology's most famous faces, was actually estranged from the church (a closely-held secret until just a few years ago). While Cruise kept his distance from Scientology during that period, Miscavige still received detailed, daily reports about the Cruise household through Doven, the former officials say.

Doven was reached on the telephone Wednesday, but he hung up when he learned that it was the Voice calling. An e-mail was subsequently sent to him with specific questions about the allegation that he spied on his employer, Cruise, on behalf of the church, but he did not respond.

Part of the reason for the surveillance, says former church official Claire Headley, was that Miscavige and the church were worried that Cruise would cut ties entirely with Scientology. "Doven told us what Tom was complaining about, about what areas in his life he was having trouble with. Then we could use that information to tailor our approach to him," she says.

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Scientology Leader David Miscavige Fed Gourmet Meals Every Few Hours: Australian TV

Interesting Scientology news coming out of Australia in this piece which aired during what were the wee hours here for us this morning.

Australia's Bryan Seymour has produced some of that country's biggest scoops about Scientology in recent years, and he has a diverting item in this Today Tonight piece about Lana Mitchell, who helped to lavish gourmet meals on Scientology leader David Miscavige at the church's secretive desert headquarters in California -- until, that is, she was accused of feeding a bad shrimp to Tom Cruise, and as a result lost her job, lost her family, and lost her friends.

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Scientology Investigation of South Park the Last Straw for Katie Holmes: Aussie Magazine Report

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An Australian gossip magazine is reporting something about Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise which is probably about as reliable as most of the stuff written about Tom and Katie by similar tabloids here in the U.S.

So why would we care what a supermarket tab from the other side of the world is saying about Katie?

Well, the magazine's reporting appears to be based at least partly on our stories from last week, and says that Katie is steaming mad about Scientology's creepy South Park investigation, enough to walk out on her Scientologist hubby.

In other words, at least one publication in the world has gone and done the incredible: given the Village Voice credit for splitting up TomKat!

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Mark Chauppetta, Private Eye Who Worked for Scientology at the time of the South Park Investigation: "I'm a Fucking Mercenary"

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Mark Chauppetta, comparing notes with a certain presidential candidate
Just got off the phone with Mark Chauppetta, a private investigator who has done work for the Church of Scientology, sifting through the trash of the church's perceived enemies.

Chauppetta worked for Scientology for several years, including the time the church was investigating South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, in 2006. (Chauppetta says he wasn't personally involved in the South Park operation, but added that he wouldn't confirm it even if that was the case.)

I told Chauppetta that our readers have been fascinated with leaked internal documents which suggest that Scientology paid private investigators to case the South Park offices, sift through Parker and Stone's trash, and also to pull the trash of their friends, such as actors John Stamos and Rebecca Romijn.

After the jump, Chauppetta explains what it was investigators were looking for in the trash of Scientology's enemies.

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Mark Ebner on Scientology and South Park: Rathbun is Definitely Leaking Authentic "Intel"

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Update: a private investigator describes sifting trash for the Church of Scientology.

As we continue to investigate Scientology's retaliation campaign against South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and their friends and employees, we remembered that an old colleague of ours, journalist Mark Ebner, worked with the animator duo for their infamous 2005 episode "Trapped in the Closet."

Ebner is important to this investigation for a couple of reasons. Not only did he work with Parker and Stone on the very episode that raised Scientology's hackles, but Ebner has himself been the subject of a concerted Scientology harassment campaign through its "Office of Special Affairs" -- and he learned about that campaign through a document leaked by former Scientology executive Marty Rathbun.

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Lloyd Kaufman on Scientology and South Park: Eric Sherman Did Ask Me about Trey Parker and Matt Stone

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Kaufman [Credit: Gerald Lerner]
UPDATE: Mark Ebner adds his own confirmation of OSA activity with a similar leaked Scientology document. Also, a private investigator describes sifting trash for the Church of Scientology.

Just got off the phone with Troma Studios founder Lloyd Kaufman, who says he's been getting a lot of calls since we reported this weekend that he is mentioned in Scientology documents which detail a retaliatory investigation of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

In 2005, Parker and Stone aired "Trapped in the Closet," an episode of South Park that deeply embarrassed Scientology by mocking its upper-level teachings. By the spring of 2006, the formerly secret documents suggest, Scientology's Office of Special Affairs was overseeing a multi-pronged effort to retaliate against the animators by researching their public records, digging through their trash, and doing the same to their close friends and employees. In two different documents, mention is also made that Kaufman was pumped for information with the use of a longtime Scientologist and filmmaker named Eric Sherman.

This morning, Kaufman confirmed to me that in 2006, Sherman -- an old college classmate and longtime friend -- did call him up to ask about Parker and Stone.

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Scientology Responds in Typical Fashion to South Park Investigation Documents

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Karin Pouw loves the word "apostate"
UPDATE: Lloyd Kaufman confirms that he was asked about Trey Parker and Matt Stone by Scientology's Eric Sherman in 2006. And Mark Ebner adds further confirmation with his own leaked OSA document. Also, a private investigator describes sifting trash for the Church of Scientology.

As we've been reporting the last couple of days, a man who was once the second-highest ranking executive in Scientology, Marty Rathbun, has made public several documents showing that in 2006, the church attempted to dig up dirt on South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

Those documents come from Scientology's "Office of Special Affairs," which has long overseen the church's retaliation and spying operations. Rathbun himself oversaw similar operations during his many years at the top levels of Scientology, and another recent defector, Mike Rinder, led OSA for some 20 years before leaving the church in 2007.

Yesterday, a newspaper in the UK, The Independent, managed to get a response about the controversy from Scientology spokeswoman Karin Pouw. And in typical Scientology fashion, her response only makes things worse for the church.

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Scientology's South Park Investigation: Orders to Send in a Young Mole

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South Park deeply embarrassed Scientology with its 2005 episode, "Trapped in the Closet."
UPDATE: Scientology responds to our South Park stories, and we decode that response here.

NEW: Filmmaker Lloyd Kaufman confirms that he was asked about Trey Parker and Matt Stone by Scientology's Eric Sherman in 2006. And Mark Ebner adds further confirmation with his own leaked document of OSA activity. Also, a private investigator describes sifting trash for the Church of Scientology.

Yesterday, we reported that former Scientology executive Marty Rathbun had revealed at his blog that in 2006, Scientology's Office of Special Affairs -- the church's intelligence and covert operations wing -- was actively investigating South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone by looking for vulnerabilities among their close friends.

Today, we have more leaked OSA documents which give some idea of the extent of the spying operation on the South Park offices and the people who worked there.

They suggest that after traditional approaches with private investigators had stalled, OSA turned to film consultant Eric Sherman, a Scientologist, to help them find a young filmmaker who would make an effective mole at the South Park offices.

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Scientology Targeted South Park's Parker and Stone in Investigation (UPDATED)

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Stone (left) and Parker
UPDATE: New Scientology internal documents about the investigation of Parker and Stone leaked. See our new story here. Also, Scientology responds to this story, and we decode their response for you.

NEW: filmmaker Lloyd Kaufman confirms that he was asked about Trey Parker and Matt Stone by Scientology's Eric Sherman in 2006. And Mark Ebner adds more confirmation that OSA followed people who worked on the 2005 South Park episode. Also, a private investigator describes sifting trash for the Church of Scientology.

Another interesting revelation at Marty Rathbun's blog this morning: Rathbun released what he said was an internal Scientology document which suggests that the church targeted Trey Parker and Matt Stone for a classic OSA investigation in retaliation for the infamous South Park episode that exposed the religion's bizarre upper-level teachings.

Rathbun tells me this initial document is just the beginning of a trove that describes how Scientology investigated Parker and Stone over a significant period after the duo deeply embarrassed the church with its 2005 episode, "Trapped in the Closet."

Marty Rathbun himself was once a powerful executive in Scientology who defected in 2004, and since 2009 has been criticizing church leader David Miscavige at his blog. At various times this year, Rathbun has made public similar documents which reveal the covert operations of Scientology's Office of Special Affairs.

The document he revealed today suggests that Scientology had identified Parker and Stone's close friends, and was examining public records on those people, looking for a vulnerability.

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The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology, No. 20: Trey Parker and Matt Stone

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On August 5, we started a countdown that will give credit -- or blame -- to the people who have contributed most to the sad current state of Scientology. From its greatest expansion in the 1980s, the church is a shell of what it once was and is mired in countless controversies around the world. Some of that was self-inflicted, and some of it has come from outside. Join us now as we continue on our investigation of those people most responsible...

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