Harassment Diary

by Paulette Cooper, 1982

My 1997 editorial comments are enclosed in [[double square brackets]]. Also, I have added some paragraph breaks.

Summary: I could not figure out why the government was taking the two obviously ridiculous letters and going after me despite the increasing amount of evidence that I was innocent and the Scientologists were the guilty party.

I did learn from the Washington documents years later about the very cozy relationship the government had with the Scientologists during the Vietnam War, in which it appeared that Scientology turned over to the FBI the names of people who joined Scientology in order to get out of the war. So the FBI probably thought they were good guys, and may have wanted to stay on their good side by going after their enemies.

In addition, I may have been on a bad guy list for the government, partially because I was one of the first people to write something questioning several aspects of the autopsy report on the Kennedy assassination. (This was in my book "The Medical Detectives," which came out that year.)

Plus, I had written (innocuous) stories for papers the government despised, and in the Nixon retribution era, may have been on a list of people the government wanted to get.

Part 18: Paranoia?

To digress for a moment, although I still suspected Nibs [[L. Ron Hubbard Jr.,]] the most, and Meisler [[the Scientology PR guy who claimed to have received the bomb threat and named me as a suspect]] second, a new suspect developed during this period.

This was the summer of Watergate, and, in fact, the only thing that had any interest for me that summer were the Watergate hearings. I was delighted with the negative revelations about the government -- which I had turned very strongly against as a result of what had happened to me. (And it also gave me no small satisfaction when L. Patrick Gray was indicted, since he had been in charge [[of the FBI]] when that happened to me!.)

But there were many loose ends in the case that kept bothering me. Why were they [[the government]] taking those letters so seriously, especially since they were not bomb threats at all? (One said "I'll bomb you' but that was a reference to a person [[Meisler]] and you can't bomb a person.)

Why had the FBI agent [[Bruce Brotman, who was the "genius" agent who originally concluded that I had done it and not Scientology, and he also testified against me at the Grand Jury]] received a special commendation for his work on the case?[[*]]

Why had John Gordon [[the prosecutor after me]] been promoted after leaving the case? How in hell in the first place could my fingerprint end up on a piece of paper I never saw or touched?

Or was it my fingerprint? Maybe the government was just saying that. And, after all, the FBI certainly had access to my fingerprints since I gave it to them (and fingerprints can be transferred).

There were many other implausible things that were beyond anyone's comprehension. (I have outlined a few of these things in the footnotes.)

There was also the fact that the second letter, the one with my fingerprint on it, hadn't even gone through the mail, and yet I was being charged with sending bomb threats through the mail. And that letter wasn't even the bomb threat -- it was the first one -- and yet I was being prosecuted for the content of the second one, even though document analysts said there were two typists. [[The document examiner we hired, a top one, said that two different people had typed the two different letters.]]

I felt that the government was after me, and from there it was only one small (paranoid) step to begin to wonder whether in fact they had framed me in the first place. And there were two reasons why it would be plausible to.

First, I had written a chapter in my book "The Medical Detectives" (and that chapter had also been serialized earlier in a magazine), quoting people who were criticizing the Government and the FBI and accusing them of a cover up in the JFK assassination.

In 1973 not that many people were publicly doing that, and those who had tried, like Jim Garrison (who, incidentally, was defended by this same Dr. Barnett I mentioned in the footnote on the previous page) had been framed by the Government (as Barnett explained to me at the time).

Secondly, it came out during Watergate that the government had an enemy list of newspapers, and I had written 8 articles for three of the newspapers mentioned (The New York Times, The Washington Post, The St. Louis Post Dispatch).

Although my articles were hardly subversive or anti-government, I suspected that the government may very well have kept lists of all bylines that appeared in those papers, especially considering the hysterical paranoia of the Nixon administration. So for years I wondered if it was the government (most likely through the FBI) which had sent those bomb threats to frame me.(1) [[**]]


(1) Interestingly enough, the Washington documents showed that Scientology and the FBI had a very cozy relationship in those days, and Scientology was routinely turning in draft resisters to the FBI, either to hurt a recalcitrant member or to gain points with the government.

[[1997 Footnotes:]]

[[*]] In one of those bizarre twists, the FBI agent on this case, Bruce Brotman, got together during this time with his old college roommate, Jeffrey Klein, and began boasting about his great work on this case (sure), and he gave enough details of the case that Jeffrey realized it was me. And Jeff knew it was me because Jeff's my second cousin.

I was furious -- I certainly didn't want my family knowing I had been indicted and arrested -- since FBI agents aren't supposed to discuss their cases outside of the bureau. A few years later, incidentally, the newspapers showed a picture of Brotman carrying children out of Jonestown, as if he was some great compassionate anti-cultist. Yeah, sure.

[[**]] My name was not on the officially released list, but given the paranoia of the times, I'm sure there were lists of everyone who wrote for the anti-government newspapers at the time.

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