Scientology Leader Gave ABC News First-Ever Interview

David Miscavige, Scientology Leader and Best Man at Tom Cruise's Wedding, Spoke to ABC News' 'Nightline' in 1992

ABC News/November 18, 2006

On Feb. 14, 1992, ABC News aired what Scientology leader David Miscavige said was his first-ever interview.

Today, in Italy, Miscavige was the best man at the wedding of actor Tom Cruise, a Scientologist.

Following is a transcript of his 1992 interview.

Ted Koppel, ABC News: Stars such as John Travolta and Tom Cruise say that Scientology has changed their lives, but critics charge fraud, that the Church of Scientology is nothing but a scam to take millions from unsuspecting believers. Tonight, we'll take you inside the Church of Scientology, as we bring you the first-ever interview with David Miscavige, the head of the church. Some of you may recall that last May, Time magazine did a cover story on the Church of Scientology. To say that the leaders of that church did not like the story would be a case of wretched understatement. As you will hear in a moment from my colleague, Forrest Sawyer, the Scientologists launched a multi-million-dollar campaign to counter the impact of that Time story. It was during that general period and in that context that we got in touch with the man who now runs the church, David Miscavige, to discuss his appearance on "Nightline." The process has taken nine months. Mr. Miscavige tells us that he has never done an interview before. And I think it's also fair to say that he and the men and women who run the Scientology organization are somewhat leery of the media. The Church of Scientology, for reasons that we will also be presenting, does not generally get a very favorable press. David Miscavige is described in one article as "ruthless, with a volatile temper," in another as being "so paranoid that he keeps plastic wrap over his glass of water." I was pleasantly surprised, then, when Mr. Miscavige first came to my office a few months back. He came alone, without any staff, and we had an amiable, if intense, conversation. I believe he even accepted a cup of coffee without plastic wrap. We'll let you make up your own mind about David Miscavige. We do have some things to tell you, however, about the Church of Scientology. Here is the first of two reports from Nightline correspondent Forrest Sawyer.

Forrest Sawyer, ABC News: After decades of seeing church officials arrested [and] after hundreds of lawsuits with critics and defectors, the Scientology business is now booming -- led by a 31-year-old high-school dropout who seized control of the church 10 years ago and charted an aggressive campaign to make Scientology a household world.

David Miscavige, October 1990: Tonight's event is being televised around the world, to every continent on the globe.

1st Actor, TV Commercial: Let's take a look inside the human mind.

2nd Actor, TV Commercial: Are you using your mind to the fullest?

Sawyer: The church's rapid growth is built on selling one single message: "Scientology has uncovered the secret of human potential." The Scientologists have built their own TV and film studio.

Miscavige: You can't be back in the dark ages of mass communication and be heard in this world today.

Sawyer: Radio broadcasts are prepared, audiotapes reproduced by the thousands on high-speed copiers, original music created, all of this to encourage more people to join the movement, and join they do. The church says it now has centers in over 70 countries, with more on the way. Church leaders say this place, 520 acres south of Los Angeles, a place they call "Gold," is a sign of their rapid expansion. It is here where top church officials are planning the future. "Gold" is run by people who believe so strongly they've signed billion-year contracts with the church, a kind of priesthood, dressed in uniforms, working over 13 hours a day, earning just $30 a week. The church says these men and women are only the most dedicated of eight million members worldwide. Church of Scientology president Heber Jentzsch. (interviewing) How do you get to call them members?

Heber Jentzsch, President, Church of Scientology: Because they joined and they came in and they studied Scientology.

Sawyer: They took one course, maybe.

Jentzsch: Well, that's how valuable the course is. Eight million people, yes, over a period of the last-- Since 1954.

Sawyer: Critics say the actual figure is closer to 100,000, but unquestionably, thousands of people, including well-known celebrities, do swear by what they call "a technology of the mind."

Chick Corea, Jazz Pianist: And this really directly affects my relationship with people, with individuals around me, with my loved ones, and also with audiences.

Sawyer: Psychological techniques they say help them feel better and act more effectively. And there's a promise of something more.

Ken Rose, Defector: From the very beginning, there was an air of mystery, there was an air of somewhere up this path there was something extremely potent and very sort of seductive and attractive.

Sawyer: The introduction begins when you walk into a Scientology center. Problems in your life? Take a personality test. "Evaluators" are ready to tell you what's wrong. In fact, the counselors are operating from a script that tells them exactly what to say. For instance, "You are capable and overt as a person, but probably not to the degree that you should be or would like to be." And the script always ends the same:

1st Scientology "Evaluator": That you are capable and overt, meaning open, as a person--

2nd Scientology "Evaluator": Just not to the degree that you feel that you could be or should be, and this is where Dianetics can help you.

Sawyer: The script tells the evaluators to sell hard: "The more resistive" -- meaning resistant -- "or argumentative he is, the more the points should be slammed home." And it works. Students often spend thousands of dollars to take more and more courses and counseling called "auditing." They find problem areas by using an "E-meter," which Scientologists claim can read thoughts, or by modeling with play-dough. The goal is to become what they call "clear," free of the influence of negative past experiences. For all the praise of Scientology from church members, there are equally vocal critics. This past spring, Time magazine published a cover story on the church, calling it "the cult of greed and power." Reporter Richard Behar.

Richard Behar, Time Magazine: People feel good, they talk about their problems, just like somebody going into therapy might feel good talking about their problems. But this all seems to have an ulterior motive, and to lead into this extremely high-priced one-on-one counseling and "auditing."

Sawyer: Dentist John Finucane liked the sales pitch he heard, and ended up spending over $42,000 on services.

Dr. John Finucane, Defector: They've tried to milk every penny they can out of any asset that I have, whether it's a credit card, whether it's my home, whether it's from a friend, whether it's from family. If I can get a hold of money anywhere, they would like to have that money.

Sawyer: Two years ago, Finucane responded to a newsletter from Sterling Management, a church-related consultant to health professionals. He says they helped his practice, but also led him into Scientology, and kept pushing for even more money. Finucane says they charged $8,500 to his credit cards without permission. When they began phoning for more, he turned on his tape recorder.

Finucane (audio tape): So basically, I don't even have enough money for that, just to even get to the point where I can do my auditing.

Scientologist (audio tape): Well, you have quite a bit, though, John. I mean, you know, I don't think buying more is your problem. Your problem is your wife.

Sawyer: Because Finucane's wife opposed the church, they declared him a "PTS," potential trouble source.

Finucane: They said, "Well, you either need to shape things up or 'disconnect,' " as they say, which, they won't ever say divorce. They just say "disconnect."

Sawyer: Ken Rose says he had to choose between the church and his children. He says he was told to sign a paper agreeing to waive his parental rights, or see his sons thrown out of Scientology school.

Rose: On what is probably the darkest day of my life, I spent several hours with them and their mother, with them, at one point, literally on their knees sobbing for me to sign this paper so that they could keep going to school.

Sawyer: Defectors claim the church tears families apart every day. Roxanne Friend brought her brother into the church. She says he ended up helping to kidnap her.

Roxanne Friend, Defector: They put me in a little apartment. They had a guard at the front door and a guard at the back door, and I was not allowed to leave. There was no telephone and no means of communication with the outside world.

Sawyer: Friend claims she was held to convince her not to see a non-Scientologist doctor when she felt sick.

Friend: And be told, "Yeah, you are ill," but then, "No, we just need to audit you. Give us, you know, $6,000, $12,000, and we'll audit you and you'll be flying again." That's a direct quote. "We'll get you flying again."

Sawyer: Today, Roxanne has incurable cancer, which she says could have been treated if diagnosed earlier. She spent over $80,000 on Scientology, and has almost nothing left, and no medical insurance. She blames the church.

Friend: You're going to have a sense of anxiety or desperation to do whatever it takes to sign your life away, your money and your mortgage and your child.

Sawyer: Church officials deny these charges made by what they call "a handful of disgruntled people," many of whom they say are pursuing lawsuits in order to squeeze the church for money. The defectors' response? There are hundreds of others who are simply afraid to speak out. Why they may be afraid and what the church really believes in our next report, a few minutes from now.

Koppel: In fact, when we come back, we'll be bringing you part two of Forrest Sawyer's report and the first-ever interview with the head of the Church of Scientology, David Miscavige.


Koppel: What exactly does the Church of Scientology believe, and what can happen to those who criticize those beliefs? Once again, here's "Nightline" correspondent Forrest Sawyer.

L. Ron Hubbard, author of "Dianetics" (1966): I've slept with bandits in Mongolia and I've hunted with pygmies in the Philippines. As a matter of fact, I have studied 21 different primitive races, including the white race.

Sawyer: Scientology's founder was a man with an imagination. L. Ron Hubbard wrote pulp science fiction for a penny a word and, critics claim, manufactured his own life history as well. He called himself an explorer and a war hero, the man who discovered the keys to the universe and used them to heal his own war injuries. Critics say Hubbard's claims were so fanciful that one California Superior Court judge declared Hubbard to be "…virtually a pathological liar."

Jentzsch: These are a bunch of people who never caused anything in their lives to begin with, and who I would say are jealous of a man who brought a technology of religion to this world the like of which has never been seen before, and it works.

Sawyer: In 1950, Hubbard turned away from pulp novels with a new book that would change everything. It was, Hubbard said, the "true science of the mind," and it sold millions. When psychiatrists challenged his claims that Dianetics could heal illnesses and increase intelligence, Scientologists fought back.

Jentzsch: Psychiatry is Russian and Nazi. Remember, it's an import. It's like bringing the bonic, the bubonic plague into America, as far as I'm concerned. They are not American, and we are. And they can go back to where they came from.

Sawyer: Hubbard said psychiatry was part of a vast conspiracy to destroy his newly formed church and control mankind. Recent Scientology films still attack psychiatrists as potential killers.

Actor, Scientology Film: And with each little swing, a manageable and composed individual, one, two, three.

Sawyer: Hubbard also announced he had gone beyond psychiatry, by literally traveling in space to Venus and Mars, and to a distant radiation belt.

Hubbard: I was up in the Van Allen Belt. This is factual. And I don't know why they're scared of the Van Allen Belt, because it's simply hot. You'd be surprised how warm space is.

Sawyer: Hubbard said he had discovered secrets of the universe so powerful they could only be heard by Scientologists who had spent hundreds of hours studying his programs. Anyone else would be struck dead by the knowledge. He told stories of how, 75 million years ago, an evil tyrant collected beings on other planets to be stored in volcanoes on earth.

Hubbard: Boxed them up in boxes, threw them into space planes. DC-8 airplane is the exact copy of the space plane of that day. No difference, except the DC-8 had fans, propellers on it, and the space plane didn't.

Sawyer: As this film depicts, the spirits' bodies were destroyed by hydrogen bombs, and today their troubled spirits are attached to human bodies by the thousands. Called "body thetans," they cause endless problems. Only Scientology knows how to shake them loose.

Friend: You talk to them, and when you find out who they are and what they are, what they're doing and what's making them stick around you, then they blow. And so you pay a lot of money. I mean, you have lots of body thetans, so this process takes lots of time.

Sawyer: Scientologists today consider these sacred writings, the story of how mankind's problems evolved millions of years ago on other planets, and so they need to be kept secret. Defectors claim there is another reason for secrecy.

Rose: I really think that instead of handing out personality tests on the street, they handed out a story that said, you know, "What's really plaguing you is that you're encrusted with little spirits and these spirits are suffering from an incident that took place 75 million years ago, and if you come on into our church we'll cure you of this," I think that there would be a high rate of people saying, "No thanks."

Sawyer: L. Ron Hubbard died in 1985, leaving behind a church embroiled in controversy. The IRS has been in hot pursuit for years, defectors are suing for millions of dollars in damages, and critics are loudly claiming the church is running a huge con game. Once again, the church is fighting back.

Behar: I've done a lot of investigative stories in my career, and this thing, this thing takes the cake.

Sawyer: When Richard Behar published a critical story in Time magazine in May, the church mounted a $3-million campaign in USA Today, accusing the magazine of being manipulated by drug companies the church opposes. Behar claims they went even further.

Behar: I have evidence that they've gotten hold of my personal phone records. They've called up friends, neighbors, a former colleague. I've gotten a visit to my apartment building which I believe is connected to the story.

Sawyer: It is, critics claim, part of a policy called "fair game," in which enemies "May be tricked sued, or lied to, or destroyed." The church acknowledges some of its officials, including Hubbard's own wife, did harass people years ago, but they were convicted, and the practice has stopped. Defectors say it still goes on.

Vicki Aznaran: They hire private detectives to harass people. They run covert operations. You name it, they have never quit doing it. It would like-- They would have to quit being Scientology if they quit doing that.

Sawyer: Vicki Aznaran is a former high-ranking church official who lost a power struggle with David Miscavige over control of the church after Hubbard's death. She is presently suing the church and claims she heard Miscavige order attacks on troublemakers.

Aznaran: He said that we will use public people, we'll send them out to the dissidents' homes, have them, their homes, broken into, have them beaten, have things stolen from them, slash their tires, break their car windows, whatever. And this was carried out and was being carried out at the time I left.

Sawyer: Church officials vigorously deny all the charges, and call these critics nothing more than guppies trying to annoy a whale.

Jentzsch: You look at this. We get hit, we expand, we get hit, we expand, we get hit, we expand, we get hit, we expand. I mean, I don't want to say the obvious. You hit us, we'll grow.

Sawyer: Scientology, they say, is growing by leaps and bounds, and for critics and church defectors, that is precisely the problem. This is Forrest Sawyer for "Nightline."

Koppel: Joining us live tonight is David Miscavige, whose formal title is chairman of the board of the Religious Technology Center, the organization which manages Dianetics and Scientology. Mr. Miscavige took over as the head of Scientology in 1987 following the death of the church's founder, L. Ron Hubbard. You've been sitting here very patiently for the first 15 minutes. It's your turn. We're going to take a short segment here to talk, and then we'll take a break, and then we've got the rest of the program to talk. Where would you like to pick up on what many in our audience, I suspect, have seen for the first time about the Church of Scientology?

Miscavige: Yeah, well, I think-- You know, I guess the first thing I would like to take up is the fact that the intro piece-- There's no question that there's some controversy surrounding Scientology, but if you want to look at what the real controversy is, there's been stories like this one that we saw here for the past 40 years, and yet during that time period Scientology's continued to grow. In fact, it's 25 times larger today than it was in 1980. I would just like to take up a few of the falsehoods that are in there, because I think this explains a lot why you have the controversy. I don't know that Scientology lends itself so well to the press. In this instance, we did agree that we would have your correspondents come in, and in fact, he did have unlimited access to the church. But then you get a piece like this. For instance, something that isn't mentioned in there is that every single detractor on there is part of a religious hate group called Cult Awareness Network and their sister group called American Family Foundation. Now, I don't know if you've heard of these people, but it's the same as the KKK would be with the blacks. I think if you interviewed a neo-Nazi and asked them to talk about the Jews, you would get a similar result to what you have here. The thing I find disingenuous is that it's not commented upon, and yet, in fact, your correspondent Forrest and Deanna Lee were aware of this fact. And not only that, that is the source of where they, they received these people to talk to. They didn't find them randomly--

Koppel: Well, if I may just interrupt for a moment: You realize there's a little bit of a problem in getting people to talk critically about the Scientology because, quite frankly, they're scared.

Miscavige: Oh, no, no, no, no.

Koppel: Well, I'm telling you--

Miscavige: No, no, no, no. Let me tell you--

Koppel: I'm telling you people are scared.

Miscavige: Let me explain something to you. The most disingenuous thing is that you have those people. Now, let's not give the American public the wrong impression, that these are people that randomly were pulled in from around the world and that they decided to talk against Scientology. Those people aren't scared and they've been loudly speaking in the press. You showed me a book you had before this show that has many detractors, same ones, so they're not really frightened. That's a good story--

Koppel: Actually, that wasn't a book, it was a collection of articles--

Miscavige: Let me finish.

Koppel: …that has been written about you and the church.

Miscavige: But the same people were quoted.

Koppel: No. What I was saying is the reason, perhaps, that we only hear from those folks is that there are a lot of other people who might be considered detractors of the church, and they, who do not belong to any organization, are, quite frankly, afraid to come out and speak publicly.

Miscavige: Well, I'm sorry, no, I'm sorry, that story doesn't hold water, because I'll tell you, from my perspective, the person getting harassed is myself and the church. Let me give you an example. We did make access possible for Forrest. That isn't to say that he took advantage of it, Ted. For instance, the subject of money comes up, it comes up routinely, and I'm sure we might bring it up later on in this show. But I, in fact, had the highest contributors of Scientology gathered up so that Forrest could interview them, to ask them why they gave money to the church and how much they had, and believe me, it's larger figures than these people are talking about. He told me he didn't have time. I said, "Please, I mean, they're here." He said, "No, I don't have time, I don't want to see 'em." I offered for him to go down to our church headquarters in Clearwater, Fla., where 2,000 parishioners are there at any given time from all over the world. In other words, he would get a cross-selection of people from Germany, England, California, Florida, Spain, Italy, you name it. Didn't want to go, didn't have time. So to represent also that this is what the church puts forth isn't so. Here's what I find wrong and here's what I find the common mistake the media makes. I can give you a hundred thousand Scientologists who will say unbelievably positive things about their church to every one you add on there, and I not only am upset about those people not being interviewed, they are, too. And the funny thing about it, and why you find this not really being that one who speaks in the media, is because not just myself, any Scientologist, will open up a paper, will watch this program, they're probably laughing right now, saying, "That isn't Scientology." That's what makes media. Media is controversy. I understand that. And if you really looked at the big picture of what's happening in Scientology, it isn't really controversial, certainly to a Scientologist.

Koppel: Okay. We are going to have to take a break.

Miscavige: Very good.

Koppel: I hope you understand that there's a little bit of a paradox in your saying, you know, "We're not going to get a chance to listen to what Scientology is really about"; we have with us, after all, since you were courteous enough to join us--

Miscavige: Oh, absolutely, I'm just trying-- I'm just trying to correct this, that's all.

Koppel: I understand, and we're going to be spending the rest of this hour, in which I'll have a chance to talk to you and you can clear up some of the misconceptions we have.

Miscavige: Absolutely.

Koppel: Okay?

Miscavige: Okay.

Koppel: We'll continue our discussion in a moment.

("Dianetics," a best-seller for a record 100 consecutive weeks (1986-1988).)


Koppel: I'd like to begin, Mr. Miscavige, with, I guess, the kind of broad question that perhaps folks at home may be asking themselves right now. But let me be the guinea pig for a moment. See if you can explain to me why I would want to be a Scientologist.

Miscavige: Because you care about yourself and life itself. Scientology, the word means study of life, study of knowledge, and that's where it is. It takes up all areas of life itself, things that are integral and maxims that are related to life and very existence. Let me give you an example. It's better if I take that, because it is such a broad-ranging subject covering so many different areas, the subject of communication. This is something that major breakthroughs exist in Scientology, being able to communicate in the world around you. And I think everybody would agree that this is an important subject. Well, there's an actual formula for communication which can be understood. You can drill on this formula of communication, and learn to drill, but moreover, take the person who has trouble communicating, has-- Well, for some reason he can't -- anxiety, whatever.

Koppel: I'll tell you what. Let's stick with me, okay? So far in life I haven't had a whole lot of trouble communicating. Now see if you can communicate to me what it is that you're going to be able to do for me that makes me a better communicator.

Miscavige: Well, I don't-- In Scientology you don't do anything for somebody else. Scientology is something that requires somebody's active participation.

Koppel: Then, fine, I--

Miscavige: It certainly-- Let me explain something--

Koppel: I want to participate, I want to be active completely. We are looking theoretically--

Miscavige: What in your life, Ted? What in your life do you not feel is right, that you would like help?

Koppel: I feel perfectly comfortable with my life. I like my job, I'm happy with my family, I love my wife, I'm healthy. I'm perfectly content, that's why I'm asking you what is it you can do for me.

Miscavige: Well-- Well, number one, I would never try to talk you into that Scientology's for you. You see, that's the funny thing about this, as if I'm now going to give a sales pitch to you on Scientology. Believe me, Scientology's valuable enough that it doesn't require any sales pitch. But let's look at it this way, then, what Scientology does. If you look out across the world today, you could say that if you take a person who's healthy, doing well, like yourself, you'd say that that person is normal, not a crazy, not somebody who's psychotic, you look at a wall and they call it an elephant. Would you agree with me on that?

Koppel: So far I've got no problem.

Miscavige: Okay. And you can see people below that, and crazy people, criminals, that I think society in general will look at and say, "That breed of person hasn't something quite right because they're not up to this level of personality." You can understand that. Well, we in Scientology are not-- You see, all past attempts have been to bring man up to somebody's standard of what's normal. What we are trying to do in Scientology is take somebody from this higher level and move them up to greater ability. You see, we're interested in the--

Koppel: What about those folks "down there"?

Miscavige: Well, yes, no, you wouldn't-- We don't ignore them. But my point is this: Scientology is there to help the able become more able. The guy who's going around, he's working, he's trying to make it, these people generally have something in their life that they would like to improve and, in any event, if you can increase that person's ability, the one who's chipping in, the one who's able, and bring him up higher, this sphere of influence that he affects in the world around him can be much greater, and he can get on and do better.

Koppel: Now, Mr. Miscavige, when you and I talked the first time, a few months ago, I said to you I was going to come after you on some of these issues. I am a cynic, by nature. I guess that's why I like being a reporter. What you have described to me there fits perfectly with the image that I have of Scientology. Namely, you're interested in folks who are producing. Another way of saying that is you're interested in folks who've got money and who can pay to work their way up the Scientology ladder.

Miscavige: Well, you see, that's where you miss the point, because in fact, you know, this subject of money comes up, but you've got the wrong issue there. The subject of money is, where's it going. You see, another part that isn't in that piece, the money in Scientology isn't going to me. It's not going to my colleagues. That's a fact. That's a fact. You can call up the IRS and find that fact out. They've audited our records and seen all of that, and none of that money is going anywhere. As a matter of fact, the officials in the church are paid far less and live far more frugal existences than any other church leader. Our money goes to social causes that we accept. You take these people. We are the largest social reform group in the world, do far more than any other church. For the last two years we have been voted the community outreach group of the year in Los Angeles.

Koppel: By whom?

Miscavige: By the local city council. The senate of California passed a resolution that's for our work with underprivileged children in California. We work on getting drug addicts off drugs. We support Narconon, which is a drug rehabilitation center using the drug rehabilitation technology of L. Ron Hubbard. There are 33 centers around the world. Over 100,000 people have been gotten off drugs. We sponsor educational programs. Several years ago in just-- Wait, in just one instance, we worked with--

Koppel: I don't want to minimize any of that--

Miscavige: But wait--

Koppel: But how does that make your group the-- How did you put it -- that you do more to help?--

Miscavige: Social reforms, helping people.

Koppel: Social reform--

Miscavige: Sure.

Koppel: …than any other group in the world. More than the Catholic Church, more than--

Miscavige: Well, no, more accurately is per size. And when you put it in that rate -- in other words, how big Scientology is compared to any others -- the amount that we do on that subject, there's not even anybody comparable.

Koppel: Okay. We've got to take a break, we'll continue our discussion with David Miscavige in a moment. ("Dianetics," sales worldwide 14.6 million, languages 22)


Koppel: During one of Forrest Sawyer's pieces a moment ago, we heard one of your colleagues talking about psychiatry, right?

Miscavige: Right.

Koppel: You guys are deaf on psychiatry. The criticism that was made was that this is foreign to the United States. He referred to its origin in Nazism and Communism. And that your religion, Scientology, is an "American" religion. Fair enough so far?

Miscavige: Well, American-of-the-mind. Yeah. That's right.

Koppel: What does that do for Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and all the other isms that also did not--

Miscavige: Oh, I think--

Koppel: …originate in this country?

Miscavige: Well, no, that isn't really the point. The point there is this -- that those people, the Fascists, the Communists, have used psychiatry to further their ends. That's just a fact. I mean, you want to look at the studies that brought about the Holocaust of the Jews, that the Nazis justified killing the Jews, they were done at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Leipzig, Germany, and that justified the killing of six million people. If you look at the report that even Forrest Sawyer did on mental institutions in Russia -- several months ago he did this -- you saw that that was a tool of the state. That's the point he's making there. But let me tell you what our real problem is. Number one, understand this. Psychiatry, psychology, that comes from the word psyche. Psyche means soul. These people have preempted the field of religion, not just Scientology, every other religion. They right now practice and preach the fact that man is an animal, and I guess that is where philosophically we're at odds with them. But to understand what this war is, this is not something that we started. In fact, 22 days after "Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health" came out, the attacks from the American Psychiatric Association started. This was the first popular book on the mind ever in existence, it was running up the best-seller list, it was popular with the people. I have the letter sent out by the man who was in the American Psychiatric Association asking for ad hominum reviews on the subject of Dianetics. These people absolutely felt that we were cutting across their vested interests, and the lengths with which they have gone to destroy Scientology and Dianetics and L. Ron Hubbard is absolutely mind-boggling. They attempted to do so through the 1950s. First they tried to attack L. Ron Hubbard's credibility, then they recruited the American Medical Association and the Food and Drug Administration, and they then proceeded to infiltrate our organization.

Koppel: May I--

Miscavige: No, no, let me finish--

Koppel: May I stop you just for a moment? Because, you know, when you talk about undermining L. Ron Hubbard's credibility -- and again, I have no idea whether that video and the tape that we heard--

Miscavige: Yeah, but why don't touch on that?

Koppel: …that we heard was representative of L. Ron Hubbard. But when I hear about a man talking about having been taken out to the Van Allen space radiation belt of space ships that were essentially the same thing as the DC-8, I've got to tell you, I mean, if we're talking about this man's credibility, that certainly raises some questions in my mind about his credibility.

Miscavige: Okay. Well, let me ask you, have you read any books on Dianetics or Scientology?

Koppel: I've been reading little else over the last two days.

Miscavige: You see, here--

Koppel: I must confess, I'm not a student of--

Miscavige: But you haven't read "Dianetics" or any books on Scientology?

Koppel: You're absolutely right.

Miscavige: Okay, fine. Then that's why you would make a comment like that? I mean, let's not joke around here. That bit that Forrest did there pulled out of context items. And let's not forget something else, by the way. I told Forrest Sawyer -- and I was open about this the whole time, I have been in communication with "Nightline" numerous times -- I said, "Forrest, if something comes up, you want to bring me up an allegation, you confront me it before this so I can do away with this garbage and not have to do it on the program." "Dave, I promise you I'll do it." Numerous calls have been put in to him. I have never heard it from him. I never heard about these. To do that is take anything out of context. Ted, when I talk about--

Koppel: Can you--

Miscavige: No, but let me just give you an analogy.

Koppel: You know that there are going to be a lot of folks out there -- and I'm sure there are a lot of Scientologists, and I don't want to offend anyone who truly believes this -- but there are a lot of people out there who will look at that. You say it was taken out of context. Take a minute, if you would, and see if you can put it into context for us so that it does not sound ridiculous. Because, quite frankly, the way it sounded there, it sounded ridiculous.

Miscavige: Okay. Well, let me tell you-- Let me ask you to do this, then: I want you to take the Catholic Church and take right now and explain to me, to make sense that the Virgin Mary was a virgin, scientifically impossible, unless we're talking about something-- Okay, I'll be like you. I'll be the cynic. If we're talking about artificial insemination, how could that be? If you're talking about going out to heaven, xcept we have a space shuttle going out there, we have the Apollo going out there, you do that. I'm not here--

Koppel: I will--

Miscavige: Wait--

Koppel: I will--

Miscavige: I'm not here to talk--

Koppel: Let me do it, and you're-- You were a Catholic as a child, right?

Miscavige: Yeah.

Koppel: So you know full well that those issues are questions of faith. Are you telling me that what we have heard L. Ron Hubbard say on this broadcast this evening, that they, to Scientologists, are issues of faith? If that's what you tell me, then that's fine.

Miscavige: No, no. As a matter of fact--

Koppel: Then it doesn't have to be explained logically.


Miscavige: Talk about the Van Allen Belt or whatever is that, that forms no part of current Scientology, none whatsoever.

Koppel: But what did he mean when he was talking about it?

Miscavige: Well, you know, quite frankly, this tape here, he's talking about the origins of the universe, and I think you're going to find that in any, any, any religion, and I think you can make the same mockery of it. I think it's offensive that you're doing it here, because I don't think you'd do it somewhere else.

Koppel: I'm not mocking it. I'm asking you a question, and you know, you turn it around and ask me about Catholicism. I say we're talking about areas of faith.

Miscavige: Well, it's not even a matter of faith, because Scientology is about you, yourself and what you do. You're bringing up something that isn't part of current Scientology, that isn't something that Scientologists study, that is part of some tape taken from, I have no idea, and asking me about it and asking me to put it in context. That I can't do.

Koppel: All right. So this has nothing to do with your faith today?

Miscavige: If you read any books on Scien-- No. Van Allen Belt? Absolutely not. Nothing.

Koppel: All right. Okay. We're going to continue our discussion in just a moment.


Koppel: And we're back once again with David Miscavige. I'm going to let you get to the point you want to get to, but I was astonished, during the break you told me you had never heard that tape before, the L. Ron Hubbard tape.

Miscavige: No, I'd never heard that. No. I'm not-- I mean, it may exist here, but I haven't heard it. I mean, I don't know if you understand, there are 6,000 lectures by Mr Hubbard. There are over 20 million words of printed words in Scientology, and all of these have been made available in Scientology, so if it is there, we'll find it. I don't think anything's being hidden, either. I just personally haven't heard that tape, no.

Koppel: Okay. Now, you wanted to get back to the issue of the psychiatrists.

Miscavige: Yes.

Koppel: And let me, if I may, by way of introduction to that, I did not interrupt you before, but you were talking about the use of psychiatry in Nazi Germany, the use of psychiatry in the Soviet Union.

Miscavige: Yes.

Koppel: I would argue, and I think most psychiatrists in this country would argue, that what we're talking about here was the misuse of psychiatry in both those countries.

Miscavige: Well, okay. And if we're talking about the misuse, fine. In any event, I think any use that ends up killing people is a misuse, and I think that's a hell of a record to have. But let me get back to where I was, because it does tie in. You say the misuse, but I don't know if you're aware that there was a plan in 1955 in this country, Ted, to repeat what was done in Russia. There was going to be a Siberia, U.S.A., set up on a million acres in Alaska to send mental patients. They were going to lessen the commitment laws. You could basically get into an argument with somebody and be sent up there. This sounds very odd. Nobody's ever heard about it. That's in no small part thanks to the Church of Scientology. I must say, though, that when that bill was killed in Congress, the war was on with psychiatry where they declared war on us, and I want you to understand something--

Koppel: Let me just ask you to be specific on that. You are talking about a bill having been brought into Congress for the setting aside of a million acres in Alaska--

Miscavige: You got it.

Koppel: …for people--

Miscavige: To send a mental health center.

Koppel: …to send mental health patients? What was-- Who was the sponsor of that bill? What was the bill number? I mean, we'd-- I'm sure we're going to--


Miscavige: Well, I have a copy of it, and if you want it I can give it to you. All of these documents--

Koppel: I would. Let me see it.

Miscavige: All of these documents were made available to Forrest. If they're not on here, I don't know why, but I do have them and I will make it available to you.

Koppel: Okay. Now, was that bill ever voted on? Did it ever come out of committee?

Miscavige: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Oh, yes. It was a major, major, major flap for the psychiatrists when it got voted down, because then the slogan around the country began, "Siberia USA," and it was really the first time that psychiatry had been denigrated publicly, that they weren't the science that they had been promoting themselves to be. And they took it upon themselves then to start dealing with anybody who would oppose them. They definitely saw Dianetics and Scientology as opposing them, not only in terms of their brutal treatments, such as electric shock and prefrontal lobotomy, which are specific things that we're against, but also for the fact of the people that were going to Dianetics and Scientology and not there. They went to the Food and Drug Administration, they went to the American Medical Association, they arranged an informant to go into our headquarters here in Washington, D.C., and infiltrate the organization over the next five years. I have documents on this, too. They wanted to get somebody in the church to recommend medical treatment, couldn't get them to do it, walk in and say, "I want to be cured medically." People wouldn't do it. They finally went so far as getting the head of the D.C. morals, the moral department of the D.C. police to send his daughter in as an informant, pregnant, to get an abortion, to ask the church to do it, a frame job. The church didn't go for it. They did then raid the church.

Koppel: When you say "they," you're talking about who now?

Miscavige: I am talking-- This is the APA, AMA, Food and Drug Administration. These people were all coordinated doing these activities, and it went on for five years, Ted, and you have to understand, we only find this out recently. They then proceed to raid our church. Now, the following takes place. They killed one of our executive directors. They literally murdered-- The Food and Drug Administration hired an informant to go into our organization in Seattle, Wash., his wife was there. He wasn't for Scientology, she was. They said, "Great, report on her and report on Scientology." He proceeded to do so. Several weeks later, murdered the head of our organization. The Food and Drug Administration never told us that it was their informant. Instead -- wait -- instead, they got with the D.C.-- I mean, with the Seattle Police, and went undercover in the organization on the homicide investigation to rifle our files. At that same time -- and here's where the media comes in -- a man interviewed L. Ron Hubbard for The Saturday Evening Post. He came out with an unbelievably bad article in that magazine. Of course, Scientology said, "You're part of this Food and Drug Administration thing," and of course, he said, "Oh, excuse me, you just sound like the fringe," which is very easy to say. What do I find out 20 years later through the Freedom of Information Act? I find out that this man, a man named James Phelan, had been, well, The Saturday Evening Post had been written to by the Food and Drug Administration to get a discrediting article written on Mr. Hubbard and Scientology to help their case against us, that this man then went and interviewed Mr. Hubbard. He interviewed him for two days. Mr. Hubbard provided him with tapes and transcripts. The man came back here to the United States. Mr. Hubbard was in England and provided those transcripts to the Food and Drug Administration for their case a full week before he ever wrote his article.

Koppel: We have got to take another break. We'll continue our discussion in a moment.


Koppel: Mr. Miscavige, I must admit, I'm curious. You have been the head of the Church of Scientology now for what, a little over 10 years?

Miscavige: Not really the head there, but certainly a senior Scientologist, yes, Ted.

Koppel: Okay. During all that time -- you just told me again, earlier this evening -- you have not done any interviews.

Miscavige: No.

Koppel: (A), Tell me why. And (B), why now?

Miscavige: Why now? Okay. Why not? Let me tell you something: I once added up all the press that had been written about me before the first reporter called trying to speak to me, and from around the world, it stacked up to four-and-a-half feet. By then, it was myth and legend. And then only on one or two occasions can I think of that somebody has asked to speak to me, but never to interview me. It was always, "I want to ask you about some allegations." And to that degree, I'm not interested. I gave you the story about this reporter. Quite frankly, from my view, a lot of the people who have written stories on Scientology are doing it from a certain pitch, they already have their story somewhat made up. They've already made up their mind. It's a waste of my time, I have to be honest. Why now? It's live.

Koppel: Okay. It is live. As you know, initially, I mean, we wanted--

Miscavige: And you asked.

Koppel: That's-- Well, we certainly did. We asked, and we have been talking to each other now--

Miscavige: Sure, absolutely.

Koppel: …and negotiating now for about nine months.

Miscavige: That really has never happened, Ted.

Koppel: Initially, we wanted you to come on because you folks were really upset about that cover story that Time magazine did.

Miscavige: Yes.

Koppel: Now, a lot of people have been upset by stories in the press about them. Certainly, a cover story has more impact than just any old story in a magazine, and Time is a big magazine, but one might argue that your response to it, your reaction to it, was huge. I think Forrest said you spent $3 million in USA Today alone, with some of those full-page ads, double-truck ads, that you ran. Didn't you also run some TV ads and radio ads on that?

Miscavige: No, nothing on Time. And by the way, when you say the $3 million, that, there was an advertising campaign. You have to understand, the first three weeks of it were about the Time magazine and correcting the falsehoods on it.

Koppel: All right.

Miscavige: That was a campaign that ran for 12 weeks. The rest of it was attempting to inform the public of what Scientology was.

Koppel: All right. Now, I told you, we've got to take a break in exactly one minute, so I may have to cut you short if you go longer on this--

Miscavige: Okay.

Koppel: …but why were you so-- What was it about the Time magazine story that so upset you?

Miscavige: Because it wasn't reporting on anything, it was an attempt to cause something. Richard Behar is a hater.

Koppel: Behar.

Miscavige: Behar, he had done an article on Scientology three years earlier in conjunction with the Internal Revenue Service. The man was on record on two occasions attempting to get Scientologists kidnapped. That is an illegal act. When you get somebody like that doing an article, you're not too interested.

Koppel: All right. Let's leave that hanging in the air, and I promise we'll come back to it--

Miscavige: Okay.

Koppel: I think both you and Mr. Behar deserve more on that subject. I'll be back in a moment.


Koppel: As you can see, our hour is up, but (A), the opportunity to talk to Mr. Miscavige is such a rare one, and (B), we really do have some issues that have been left hanging, that we're going to go a few minutes over our allotted time. You made the charge a moment ago that Mr. Behar at Time magazine, the reporter who wrote the cover story for Time, that he had, what, conspired with someone to try to get someone from Scientology kidnapped?

Miscavige: No, no, he was-- He had written an original article and some people had called him up and he was telling them to kidnap Scientologists out.

Koppel: He was telling them to kidnap Scientologists.

Miscavige: Yes, and get them forcibly deprogrammed which, according to Ted Patrick, who was the father of deprogramming--

Koppel: All right.

Miscavige: …It always includes kidnapping, usually assault and battery, and certainly with the intent to commit a felony.

Koppel: All right. Now, kidnapping, as you well know, is a federal crime in this country.

Miscavige: Well, let me tell you something, there is one person who he used in that article that was, to be asked of him to infiltrate at our church in New Jersey. He didn't quote this in his article. I didn't find out until actually about a month ago, and the person has just been arrested. As a matter of fact, four people from this same group I mentioned at the beginning of this show have just been put under arrest last week for forcible kidnapping of persons from another faith. You have to understand something, Ted. These people that he aligns with, this Cult Awareness Network, which every one of these people are a part of--

Koppel: Although I told you during a break that my producer told me in earpiece right after it, I was going to leave it alone, that all of those people maintain they are not in that cult awareness group.

Miscavige: Well, no, they don't, because I'll tell you right now, I spoke to-- Well, that's just not the case. But in any event--

Koppel: Can we stay on Mr. Behar for a moment?

Miscavige: Absolutely.

Koppel: Because you have made what is really a very serious charge, and that he was involved--

Miscavige: Oh, he admits to it.

Koppel: …that he was involved in kid-- I'm sure he doesn't admit to being--

Miscavige: No, he admits to wanting to get a Scientologist kidnapped.

Koppel: …to being involved in kidnapping. That would be a very serious admission, as you well know.

Miscavige: He absolutely admits to wanting to get a Scientologist kidnapped. That's in your Washington Post.

Koppel: So why didn't you bring charges against him?

Miscavige: He didn't succeed. He didn't succeed. Our point is this-- Ted, Ted, you're missing the point.

Koppel: As I said to you before, there is such a thing as attempted rape, attempted murder, attempted kidnapping. It's also a crime.

Miscavige: Yeah, but they didn't make it. They didn't make it. I mean, the point is this.

Koppel: That doesn't matter. It's still a crime.

Miscavige: Okay. The person would have to bring charges. I think you're really missing the issue, Ted, because my point is this: That man represents himself as an objective reporter. Here he is on record a full three years before he wrote this article, stating that he felt Scientologists should be kidnapped to change their religion. Second of all, let's look at this article, and let's not fool ourselves. It wasn't an objective piece. It was done at the behest of Eli Lilly. They were upset because of the damage we had caused to their killer drug Prozac. They set up that article. They used their advertising dollar to force it to run, and that's the facts.

Koppel: All right. Now, if that is the fact, you're a careful man. I'm sure that you have evidence of that.

Miscavige: Well, here's what I do have of that. I do have a man here in Washington, D.C., named Duffy Wall, another one named Walter Moore. These are lobbyists for Eli Lilly. We have Burson Marsteller, the PR firm for Eli Lilly. The reason I'm saying this, you have to understand, this isn't my charge. I'm telling you what they say. After that article came out, they were around town here saying, "We caused that article on Scientology on behalf of Eli Lilly to help them out."

Koppel: You have affidavits to that?

Miscavige: Let me tell you what else I have.

Koppel: You have affidavits?

Miscavige: From them? Of course not. You think they'd admit it?

Koppel: Well, I mean, you're--

Miscavige: But they're the ones who said it.

Koppel: You're saying they said it, I'm trying--

Miscavige: Let me tell you what I do have.

Koppel: Go ahead.

Miscavige: I go one step further. I then later found out -- and you didn't know this -- that Eli Lilly ordered a reprint of 750,000 copies of Time magazine before it came out, reported in The Washington Post. But most importantly, here's what I do have: I put in a call to the people, the advertising firms, who set this up. I called up JWT, J. Walter Thompson, in New York. I spoke to the CEO. He said he would look into it and get back to me. He never did. I called up a man over in England who owns all these advertising and PR conglomerates for Eli Lilly, a man named Martin Sorrell. Ted, I asked him 10 times on the phone to deny that he had set this up on their behalf. He wouldn't do it.

Koppel: All right--

Miscavige: We put in a call to Eli Lilly. Their response was, "We can neither confirm nor deny." This is a pretty heavy allegation I'm making. I'm only making it because what I heard from their people, and they won't deny it, so for you to challenge me on it, you have to understand, they're not challenging me on it, and furthermore, our story that came out in USA Today covers this entire matter. They haven't called me once to correct any fact in it.

Koppel: When you say your story, you mean your advertisement.

Miscavige: Well, there was actually an insert in there that laid out the entire way that that came about.

Koppel: Let us get back, during the few minutes we have left in this broadcast, to discussing Scientology a little, and I made a suggestion at the beginning of this program, or near the beginning of the program that, in order to progress within your church, it costs money. Right? If I'm poor, how far can I progress?

Miscavige: Pretty far.

Koppel: How far?

Miscavige: Well, I'll tell you this, by the time you started getting anywhere near the top, I guarantee you, you wouldn't be poor anymore, because generally people in Scientology do better if they honestly make it.

Koppel: But let us assume there are some folks out there who are just poor. They don't have any money--

Miscavige: You know, I don't--

Koppel: They don't have any friends or relatives who have money. Is this the right religion for them?

Miscavige: Oh, absolutely. This is the right religion for anybody. In Scientology, you're dealing with yourself, you see. Here, we have this in common with all religions of earth. All religions of earth try to help man to be better, and to cause him spiritual improvement. Now, most-- In the Judeo-Christian society, they say if you have faith and you live your life that you'll achieve spiritual salvation in the afterlife. We believe in spiritual salvation, but in the here and now. And that's what we deal with.

Koppel: I think both Judaism and Christianity, or the proponents of those two religions, would argue with you that they certainly set forth quite a number of rules and recommendations and--

Miscavige: Oh, in the now, no, I'm not disputing that. I'm not-- I am not--

Koppel: And precepts for this world also.

Miscavige: I am not trying to badmouth any other religion, and Ted, I would never do that. All I'm saying is that they have their way. What's different in Scientology is how we approach it. There are higher levels of awareness as a spiritual being, and that's what we're dealing with in Scientology. Now, for me to talk to you about this and for you to have a reality on it, I don't think I'm going to get that and I'll tell you why. You don't have a reality on it. You see, Scientology is a very personal thing. You ask why somebody would do it. I'm not making the claims for the church, Ted. Millions of Scientologists around the world are making that claim. You ask them, they are happier, they do feel they're more able, they do do better in life, they know it has helped them. They say it. You can't take that away. And just like I wouldn't take that away from any other religion, when somebody then comes about and says that Scientology doesn't do that, are they telling me I don't have my own feelings?

Koppel: No, I'm just asking you, and it strikes me as a reasonable question, but if you can't answer it, you can't answer it. But there must be a way of explaining, without going into any of the innermost secrets of the Church of Scientology -- and I understand, your church has some secrets -- there has to be a way of explaining what it is you do that's different.

Miscavige: What is it that we do? That's not very difficult at all. We approach it on a one-on-one basis. There is absolutely a technology of Scientology. There's a philosophy which covers the subject of life. I started talking about communication earlier on. Well, of course, it covers interpersonal relationships, a million subjects. I don't have enough time all night to go into them. But separately, there is a technology that's applied to you as an individual, actual one-on-one counseling where you, you look-- Well, number one, you have to understand the first premise. You are a spiritual being. You look, you find out more about yourself, who you are, where you are, where you have been. A man who can look back and do that is a very courageous individual. A lot of that includes looking back on your own past and areas where you went astray. That's similar to other religions.

Koppel: It's also similar to psychiatry.

Miscavige: Listen, I'm not similar to psychiatry at all. I brought one piece of paper here because I knew this was going to come up. This is psychology, which covers the subject of religion. It's called "Religiosity and Pre-Oedipal Fixation"--

Koppel: Let me stop you one second. I just want to tell any members of our audience who may just have joined us and not have been with us, my guest is David Miscavige. You are now the head of the Church of Scientology.

Miscavige: Yes.

Koppel: Right. Okay. Please.

Miscavige: This is what they say about religion. They say abstract-religious--

Koppel: Who is this again?

Miscavige: This is out of the Journal of Genetic Psychology. This is March 1985, and I want you to understand why I don't like being compared to these people, because I'm in a completely separate realm. "Religious belief and observance derive from pre-Oedipal oral and anal drives, according to psychoanalytic theory, specifically belief in deity and such concepts as the afterlife are consonant with oral needs for nurturance from an omnipotent benefactor, coupled with the denial of death. Observance of ritual and particularly church attendance is a function of the anal need for regular activity and the anal compulsive need for regularity and repetitiveness." This is an offense to any religion. I am not like these people. We deal with the spirit, they say man's a body, we separate right there. We're interested in bringing persons to a higher plane. They deal with the neurotics. They want to bring them up and tell him how to solve his problems; in Scientology, Ted, we want to bring the individual up to a higher level ability so that he's more intelligent, he has better reaction time, he's more able and intelligent so that he can handle his life better. Now you've handled something.

Koppel: Explain to me-- And again, going back to the pieces that we saw before and, by necessity, even though we ended up doing 15 minutes on these pieces, you end up compressing things.

Miscavige: Sure.

Koppel: And I don't want to lead people astray. Talk to me for a moment about the E-meters. Those are those handles that you see people holding in the pictures, and they are dealing now with an auditor, an auditor is the person who-- This is the one-to-one--

Miscavige: Well, here's what happens.

Koppel: Yeah.

Miscavige: It could be me and you sitting across from each other, maybe--


Koppel: Okay, let's say I'm holding the E-meter. What are you doing and what is that E-meter doing? What is it capable of doing?

Miscavige: Okay, what it is capable of doing is registering what's bothering you. It is a guide, it doesn't tell you anything, it doesn't yell out. Well, it's a meter there, and it sends a little electrical flow through your body. You're holding something there, very tiny. You cannot feel it. It shows a reaction. What does that reaction mean? That reaction just says there's a reaction. You thought something about it, or something that has some form of mental energy.

Koppel: A reaction to what, your saying words, and it's almost like free association, or-- I mean, what am I reacting to?

Miscavige: Listen, stop comparing it to psychotherapy, because it isn't.

Koppel: No, no, I'm just asking. What am I--

Miscavige: It is so-- And by the way-okay, there are a million things you could do, but you take up an individual subject of a person's life. I'll bring up the subject of communication; if that isn't you, fine. People do have problems with this subject. Very specific questions are asked, the person answers them. He looks, answers the question, answers it, to handle areas of upset that are upsetting him. He knows when they are no longer upsetting him. He finds out finally for himself why they're upsetting him, and they no longer do. That is what's happening.

Koppel: What I'm still a little bit lost on is, presumably you and I could do that--

Miscavige: Oh, absolutely.

Koppel: Right now, right?

Miscavige: Well, you'd have to want to participate.

Koppel: Fine, and-- But why do we need that piece of equipment?

Miscavige: Oh, because it's far more accurate. I mean, originally in Dianetics and Scientology, there was no meter, and you would look at a person--

Koppel: Okay. So what is the E-meter--

Miscavige: …and you'd look at a person. I will tell you--

Koppel: …because I'm looking at a needle sweeping across an arc, right?

Miscavige: Okay, you would look at the person and hear something similar. I can see your face flush, or I can see you cry, or I can see you smile. You can observe people, right? Well, not many people have an ability to do that, and plus, that is pretty crude. What this does is, when there's an area of upset, it registers. That's all it does. When the area of upset no longer exists, it doesn't register. That's all it does. It is strictly a guide.

Koppel: And what is the auditor-- What is the auditor doing?

Miscavige: The communication is taking place between you and I. You see, we're in there together. I'm asking something about you. You are interested in finding out something about yourself. I'm there to help you find that. But I'll tell you, here's where else we differ from psychotherapy, psychology. Those people would tell you, "This is your problem." That's a pretty arrogant position to take, for that person to tell you what's going on, considering every individual on this planet is different. Scientology, we show you a way to find out for yourself. And do you know who knows when you've found out? You do. And if this still doesn't make sense to you, that's because you haven't done it. I can't be more clear. First principle in Scientology, by the way, Ted, you should understand is, in studying the subject or practicing it: Never, ever, ever believe it just because we say it's so. Only once you have

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