Scientology Plot

Herald Examiner/May 29, 1980

Church of Scientology members planned to discredit a high-level official in the California attorney general's office in Los Angeles with a bizarre undercover operation involving a pregnant woman, a phony nun and a fake bribery kick-back, according to documents obtained by the Herald Examiner.

The church's records of "Operation Snapper" - part of the 100,000 pages of documents seized by the FBI in Los Angeles three years ago - identified the target as Lawrence Tapper, deputy attorney general in charge of the charitable trust unit.

These documents reveal a complex "three-channel" operation "to get Larry Tapper removed from his post in the AG's office so that he can no longer commit overts (sic) against the worldwide church formed in 1954 by L. Ron Hubbard.

The Church has come under fire recently for similar operations to discredit public officials in Clearwater, Florida. But this is the first indication that group members planned undercover operations against local officials.

Heber Jentzsch, a spokesman for the church in Los Angeles, confirmed the existence of the operation against Tapper. "I had heard of the "Snapper" operation," said Jentzsch. "It was a gross operation. I can't condone that kind of activity… Someone obviously got frustrated and decided to carry out their own scenario. It should never had happened."

Jentzsch said he had no idea who in the Church planned "Operation Snapper" or whether any phases of it were actually carried out.

Tapper became a target after handling consumer fraud complaints against the church in the middle and late 70's.

Tapper at one point advised one of his superiors that the church is "long overdue" for a state investigation, and that interoffice memo - dated May 12, 1976 - was among the church's records.

It is unclear whether any elements of the operation were carried out. Tapper, who still serves in the same position with the AG's office, declined to comment because the church has an ongoing $1 million lawsuit against him and other public officials.

Tapper, was reportedly recently informed of the operation against him by Henrietta Crampton of Redondo Beach, Secretary of the citizens Freedom Foundation… "When I told him about it (by phone), Crampton said, "he was quiet for a moment, and then he asked if it had anything to do with a pregnant woman. I told him it did and I had it in writing." He said, "You've made my weekend," and asked me to send him copies."

Taper confirmed his conversation with Crampton to the Herald Examiner but refused further comment.

Taper and former AG Evelle Younger and City Attorney But Pines are defendants in the million-dollar suit filed by the church in 1976 alleging "illegal infiltration" by state officials. The suit has not yet gone to trial.

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