Today I have something really special for you.

As part of the research I’m doing for the current library article that I’m working on, I came across this rather obscure 2004 posting from what looked to be a semi-questionable source (generally). Called Intelligence Agencies and Religion its billed as being by scientist Allen Barker, whom I know nothing about and have not yet checked into.

This part caught my eye  –

CONSPIRACY IN THE URANTIA MOVEMENT: Overview  […] The Penetration of Off-Beat religions Author Miles Copland states that when the CIA’s Special Projects Division makes “connections with international religious groups for the purposes of aiding or supplementing espionage operations (it) is almost as touchy an issue as its association with criminal rings. To start with, Jewish and Catholic organizations are out. . . . Organizations stemming from other religions are fair game, however.” And he quotes one CIA official as saying that before they “tie into a religious group it’s got to be so offbeat that anyone in the agency who belongs to it may be fired as a security risk.” […]

I replaced the non-working link for you with one from the internet archive’s wayback machine, by the way.

That excerpt was followed by apparently tieing the above quote to Miles Copeland The Game Player. However, if you look at the urantia link (which is from way back in 2002) you’ll see this –

[NOTE 3: Author and former CIA operative, Miles Copland, states that when the CIAs Special Projects Division makes “connections with international religious groups for the purposes of aiding or supplementing espionage operations (it) is almost as touchy an issue as its association with criminal rings. To start with, Jewish and Catholic organizations are out. . . . Organizations stemming from other religions are fair game, however.” And he quotes one CIA official as saying that before they “tie into a religious group its got to be so offbeat that anyone in the agency who belongs to it may be fired as a security risk.”]

Notice that it does not say where these quotes are from.

If you put the first part of the quote into google you get this –



Not exactly encouraging as to its credibility.

However, I had a feeling, a strong one, that this was real and if so, it was so dang damning that it was worth chasing it down. I was pretty certain that it wasn’t in Game Player like the first source tried to say it was, and when I looked up a list of Miles’ books? I had the strongest feeling that it was in an earlier book and I also felt that it was most likely in the one called Without Cloak and Dagger. Not because of its title or anything, it was just a feeling of “where” this might be.

Note: Sometimes, until you get more familiar with working from such “unacceptable” methods of research as looking in this way is often characterized – you can get it wrong, but as you improve? I have to say that in my experience, more often than not you get it right. In some areas of research this is actually sometimes the only way you can start penetrating a resistive-to-view area. Not saying you have to do it this way, just passing along a possibility to consider.

So, today 2 out of 4 of the books came in, Game Player and…the one I suspected.

Without Cloak and Dagger by Miles Copeland; 1974.

First I did a Game Player check, quote isn’t in there, which I kind of knew because I was already fairly well familiar with it but might as well check to be sure.

Miles doesn’t make it easy to search his books either. For example, the index in Game Player doesn’t even list Scientology even though there’s definitely two parts of the book that talk about it.

Its one of the games he plays. Look at this afterward from Without Cloak and Dagger and you’ll see what I mean.


I had to go through over 200 pages of this book before there it was.

It was real!


So, let’s get right to the point and I’ll show you it, followed by the plain text of it and a bit of discussion. The passage starts where the red arrow is marking the page images.

SPD – Special Projects Division, CIA.



Plain Text –

The SPD’s connections with international religious groups for purposes of aiding or supplementing espionage operations is almost as touchy an issue as its association with criminal rings.

To start with, Jewish and Catholic organizations are out. If it were learned that a case officer had lined up a Jewish or a Catholic organization for espionage purposes, half the agency would walk out. Contrary to some opinion, the CIA is definitely not a “WASP” organization; except for the units that deal with Middle East affairs, in which the Agency’s Jews prefer not to work, its percentages of Jews and Catholics are considerably higher than the national percentages.

Organizations stemming from other religions are fair game, however-or they were fair game until, one by one, many of them turned out to have fanatical adherents in the Agency.

For a while, Moral Re-Armament was believed to be a potentially valuable SPD asset. Then, just as the SPD was establishing contacts with Moral Re-Armament representatives it was learned that a deputy chief of one of the area divisions was a Moral ReArmer and would proceed to his Congressman, also a Moral Re-Armer, and blow the operation sky-high should it ever get off the ground. The same for Seventh-Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and half a dozen other religions with international followings.

“Before we tie into a religious group,” an SPD officer told me some time ago, “it’s got to be so offbeat that anyone in the Agency who belongs to it may be fired as a security risk-and that does not include the Holy Rollers.”

Sound like Scientology anyone?


How about the Unification Church?


Especially if you consider this next part, keeping in mind the Unification Church was founded and backed by MRA members, both Japanese and Korean (with some gangsters thrown in for good measure) as well as the Korean CIA.

In the Middle East and the Far East there are dozens of offbeat religions which are virtually secret societies and which, entirely for their own purposes, collect huge amounts of information of startling quality on chiefs of state, cabinet ministers, military commanders, and other prominent persons.

Oh, man. Scientology’s Guardian Office, scientology’s security checks and “confidential” auditing folders – ringing any bells out there? Wow.

That brings to mind what Mark Rathbun said when he was sent to check out a cache of Guardian Office secret files in Ottawa, Canada in March 1983.

The files were unbelievable. They had walls lined with files cabinets of intelligence on virtually every politician that ever walked. So, I told him the score and what was up. “We’re gonna need a truck and some gasoline”. So, he said he knew a place, remote, where we could have an unlimited size bonfire. In 48 hours we destroyed all of the evidence of wrongdoing from coast-to-coast in Canada.I felt completely justified. I believed there was this vast conspiracy to destroy us while we were trying to save the planet. So the ends justified the means.



Anonymous group activist Roxanne Seibert recently requested (in 2016 through muckrock FOIA) and received R-1 visa records for the Church of Scientology in relation to its Sea Organization employment of people from rather odd places. Third world, or war-torn places.

Quoting Seibert’s “feed” point she likes to use, journalist Tony Ortega –

In 2009, researcher Jeff Jacobsen wrote about Scientology’s documented problems bringing foreigners to the United States to work in its “Sea Organization.” Anecdotally, ex-Scientologists say that the church relies heavily on foreigners to accept jobs under the bizarre working conditions of the Sea Org, which requires signing a billion-year contract and working 16-hour days, seven days a week, often at menial labor jobs, and for just pennies an hour.

Perhaps this, from Miles Copeland, may shed a bit more light on why she keeps running into a brick wall on getting anyone to do anything about what she found, and what is probably really going on with these ’emigre groups’ of scientology.

Perhaps the largest category of interdivisional operations handled by the SPD are those making use of the emigre groups resident in the United States, various South American countries, and parts of Europe.

page 198 –

…a primary purpose of Third World espionage operations is to provide information to guide clandestine warfare operations

Here are some examples of the kinds of operations that constitute this controversial field of activity.

  • -Providing secret support to the government of a Third World country…
  • -Providing secret support to a dissident group in its attempts to take over a government by. force;
  • -Rigging an election, or secretly sabotaging the attempts of others to rig the election, or in any way providing such secret support to chosen candidates as will ensure their winning, fairly or unfairly;
  • -Provoking a government into taking some desired action-for example, staging and publicizing fake insurgency raids so as to goad the government into escalating its counterinsurgency efforts;
  • -“Black propaganda”-i.e. the dissemination of information, true or false, which purports to come from sources other than the real ones;
  • -Discrediting of inimical persons, political groups, and other organizations (by poison-pen letters, by production of forged documents that may be  attributed to them, by revelation of embarrassing personal information, etc.);
  • -Assassination, sabotage, terrorism, and other such actions which might further some national objective, either offensive or defensive.

page 199

The common element is secrecyboth in the conduct of the operations and in attribution.

True clandestine warfare operations are the ones you never hear about: references to them do not appear in popular publications…

Furthermore, in subsequent pages Miles explains when this Special Projects Division had its actual beginning, which was in 1951.

Page 230

There have been many changes in this special division it first began to function, in 1951, as “PPPM” for Psychological Political and Para-Military.”

The original Chief, into the Agency by Allen Dulles, was one Thomas Braden,a brilliant man in his early thirties who had no interest in commanding an operation junk heap and who set about creating a special division to give covert support to international associations, student movements, and publications that left-of-center but anti-Communist. His programs grew until they were exposed in 1967 by a national magazine* following the resulting public outcry, the division was cut down to few paper shufflers.

*In February, 1967, the left-wing Ramparts magazine disclosed the details of the CIA’s financing of the National Student Association’s overseas programs. The result, after a long Congressional hassle which was fully aired in the press, was a Presidential decision that “no Federal Agency shall provide any covert financial assistance or support, direct or indirect to any of the nation’s educational or private voluntary organizations.”

Many of its features, however, were worth saving and these were given to the Special Projects.


And what were some of those features they rolled on over into the new Special Projects Division, after 1967, anyway?

Look at point 1 especially –

(1) a capability for acquiring masses of worthwhile information through student, labor, religious, educational, and emigre group channels and doing so in a way that would not offend the so-called “public conscience”;

(2) a means for providing “unofficial cover” on an international scale;

(3) a means for conceiving, planning, organizing, launching, and providing continuing management for operations into “denied areas” from multiple bases and involving movements across area division lines;

(4) a means for coordinating certain operations that may require instant worldwide coordination–e.g., the various defection programs, Soviet, Bloc, Chinese, and Cuban.

As presently constituted, the Special Projects Division is a combination of Staffs B-III and B-IV and the Denied Areas Division as shown on the chart in Appendix A.

Appendix A –

Why Emigre Groups?

page 242 – denied areas

The main value of emigre groups is their contribution to “denied area” operations. …Emigre groups are not the only means of penetrating denied areas, although some of these groups have by now so greased the channels into their homelands that couriers move back and forth with the greatest of ease, and with such confidence as to make them careless.

How and what did the SPD use these groups and “international religions” for?

Page 231 –

Since the student-subsidy scandal of 1967, however, the PPPM’s successor has been concerned exclusively with espionage and activities incidental to espionage. It maintains contact with a wide range of groups, but makes no attempt to influence them. In fact, aside from concern over the possibility of more scandals, the Special Projects Division has been moved by a growing realization that these organizations are better sources of information if they are left to operate on their own and are simply monitored from without. A few members of these organizations are given special training, of course, and are in a sense “agents,” but they are not employed by the SPD as  members but as individuals who see no conflict in loyalties. Even though it has a few “agents” in these groups, it is the policy of the SPD to make use of the groups as groups and to do so only on a basis of friendly liaison.

page 232 –

The SPD will not support an existing group, or create a new group, that cannot plausibly seem to be self-sufficient.

…Partly because of sensitivities triggered in 1967 and partly because of sound operational practice, the SPD has been so conscientious in adhering to this restriction that not a single native group receiving SPD support has come under serious attack for being what it is.

The SPD may not encourage a group that is not already engaged in illegal activities to engage in such activities. It has no obligation, however, to clean up the morals of a group it supports, and it can even take advantage of the group’s illegal or immoral actions as long as (a) no American or British personnel are involved, and (b) the laws broken by the group are not American laws.

page 233

These restrictions are not particularly crippling, as it happens; besides, they contain numerous loopholes, and occasional exceptions may easily be made.

Members of “Nightingale” as an example –

page 241

The pattern has been improved by now so that the SPD’s control is sufficiently tight to ensure high-quality operations but sufficiently loose so that it can overlook the excesses of this group or that when necessary.

Naturally, it has by now penetrated all the groups and otherwise devised means of secretly monitoring their plottings. There is the occasional nasty scene as one or another of the groups discovers an SPD penetration and deals with it just as harshly as it would deal with any other kind of penetration, but on the whole the relationship between the SPD and the various groups is harmonious.

249 –

pronouncement: “The espionage organization, if we must have such a thing, should be entirely outside the diplomatic establishment, run independently of our embassies and consulates, and so managed that our diplomatic representatives can honestly disclaim responsibility for them” – to quote an Assistant Secretary of State complaining to the then CIA’s Director, Richard Helms, following a particularly acute embarrassment.

page 252

Since the mid-Fifties, the SPD has built up four entirely of its own; supported a number of foreign airlines such a way that they can safely be used as cover by pnincipals and cutouts; established a worldwide network of travel agencies; gone into and out of the shipping business and back again; and established dozens of detective and credit agencies in the U.S.


page 274

There are many countries of the world in which there is no OSO [SPD] coverage; but in all cities that are crossroads of international movement-Cairo, Beirut, Istanbul, New Delhi, Tokyo, Manila, and a dozen others-the OSO can accomplish any of the following:

-Get passport and/or identity-card information on any person entering or leaving the country;
-Determine whether or not any particular person has spent the night in any local hotel;
-Maintain watches on all border posts-land, sea, or air so as to spot the arrival or departure of any “subject”;
-Get photocopies of any airplane manifest;
-Achieve surreptitious search of any hotel room, or of almost any office or private residence, or open search of any person, place, or possession under some plausible pretext;
Smuggle anything into or out of the country-money, documents, equipment, a person, even a Rolls-Royce automobile;
Carry out burglary, theft, or any other kind of petty crime;
Plant evidence on anyone, for the purpose of “framing” him into being arrested, or even prosecuted.


Now, put all this together with the fact that later Miles specifically said that scientology was chosen and notice how he refers to Hubbard –

The Game Player – Miles Copeland:

But the arrangement we made with Moral Rearmament gave us useful secret channels right into the minds of leaders not only in Africa and Asia but also in Europe.

When Bob made similar arrangements with Scientology, the brainchild of another nut, this one a science-fiction writer named Ron Hubbard, we were on our way to having a political action capability which would make the highly expensive, largely ineffective and largely overt ‘covert action’ of Bill Casey’s CIA seem trivial by comparison.

‘MRA will hit ’em high, and the Church of Scientology will hit ’em low!’ Bob liked to boast, and he was right.

If you cynics who read this think I’m kidding, put the thought out of your mind. Back in the fifties, at least some of us understood that most moves on the international gameboard, as well as most moves in the various domestic games that were behind them, were based less on Machiavellian common sense than on old-fashioned superstition.


CIA uses Scientology from The Game Player by Miles Copeland


Two “nuts” – there’s that “kooky” and disclaimable factor Miles mentioned in Without Cloak and Dagger.

Two deeply connected with British and American intelligence “nuts” – note: the MRA spawned the Korean Unification Church too – who both happened to have created nice international “religions” as front groups.

No wonder the CIA used them for espionage purposes.


MRA will hit ’em high, and the Church of Scientology will hit ’em low


Today’s find – and let’s review the really key points again –

The SPD’s connections with international religious groups for purposes of aiding or supplementing espionage operations is almost as touchy an issue as its association with criminal rings.

“Before we tie into a religious group,” an SPD officer told me some time ago, “it’s got to be so offbeat that anyone in the Agency who belongs to it may be fired as a security risk-and that does not include the Holy Rollers.”

These may also explain why the current head of the church, Mr. David Miscavige, has his flock getting scientology involved with what some consider the oddest groups and movements – like the Nation of Islam for example.

They also may go a long way to explaining any number of other “offbeat” (kooky) and get-yourself-fired-from-the-CIA if you belonged to them groups,  that also had proven ties to the intelligence community. People’s Temple, Manson, etc. etc.

They also may explain why the DOD does not list either the Church of Scientology or the Unification Church in its list of accepted religions of its employees – even as recently as April 2017.

Ladies and gentleman, I believe we are onto something here.

Researched and written by –

Virginia McClaughry

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