Five years later: Debbie Cook's indictment of Scientology under David Miscavige, annotated - 2017-01-01
Five years ago, a little after midnight as 2012 had just begun, we started to get emails.
Later that morning, we realized that what was happening was significant enough to write a story about it. A woman named Debbie Cook had sent her fellow Scientologists a message for the new year, and it was hitting Scientology like a tidal wave.
For 17 years, Debbie had been "Captain FSO," the Sea Org official who ran the Flag Service Organization, the outfit that oversees Scientology's spiritual mecca, the Flag Land Base in Clearwater, Florida. The Captain FSO has to be a hard-as-nails Sea Org commander who runs a small army of similarly dedicated fanatics, but also serves and interacts with the wealthy "publics" who come to Flag for its high-priced counseling. And to have that position for 17 years made Debbie almost legendary. But by the end of 2011, she had been moved from that position and then had quietly left the Sea Org itself, although she was still a Scientologist in good standing. Other church members may have not seen or heard from Debbie in some time, but her name was still one that carried weight. Here's how Jefferson Hawkins explained to us what Debbie meant to most people in the church...