Scientologists Bustling Again After an Interruption - 1977-07-10
By yesterday afternoon Washington scientologists had cleared away the residue of Friday's FBI raid, and the wide brick building at 2125 S Street NW was bustling with its usual weekend crowd - parishioners and communicators, clears and preclears, visitors and auditors.
There were angry words for the FBI, which had conducted joint raids on Church of Scientology offices here and in Los Angeles to recover masses of documents that the government alleges were stolen by scientology spies. While federal officials exulted over the operation - "a jackpot," one said yesterday, "extraordinarily successful" - the scientologists were sweeping away the residue from the buzz saws they claim agents used to break in.
The church has been monitored for years by the federal government, both to investigate allegations that it practices "mind control" on its converts, and to determine whether the group is a bona fide religion qualifying for tax-exempt status. Federal officials maintain that church members have stolen thousands of files containing information on scientologists, while Freedom of Information Act suits to release the information are pending. According to government affidanits, it was those files that FBI agents sought during the raids Friday.