The FBI redacted Clark Kent’s name from the script of a play written by the Church of Scientology in order to protect his privacy.
The FBI included the script in a batch of records on the CoS they released to journalist Emma Best of MuckRock in response to her 2017 FOIA lawsuit but evidently redacted the name of character Clark Kent under the impression both The Daily Planet and Kent were real, according to MuckRock Tuesday. The CoS’ Ministry of Public Relations wrote the play in an attempt to quell former members’ accusatory suspicions raised against the church.
— Emma Best (U//FOUO) (@NatSecGeek) April 30, 2018
Scientologists intended the play to refute claims made in an affidavit by a former member they name only as Wally but has been identified as Lawrence D. Wollersheim.
“I am a fugitive from the cult now, after being a programmed true believer for 11 years. I have to keep traveling and operate under fictitious identities to avoid the cult’s heavy and extensive search for me. I am a most dangerous security leak to the cult because I have firsthand knowledge of their criminal activity and am willing to tell all, despite their ‘level 2′ programming,” Wollersheim wrote in an affidavit.
“I have written this affidavit in case I am caught by the cult or harmed before I have had the chance to tell what lies beneath the codes, the secrets, and the protective illusions the cult creates,” Wollersheim added.
Wollersheim’s affidavit was “so highly unusual in its degree of spitefulness and vindictiveness that this office has drafted a play which, while amusing, also serves to point up the serious errors in logic that [redacted] in his one man crusade, hopes dearly that we will all overlook,” the document from the CoS’ Ministry of Public Relations said.
The play depicts “Wally” bringing his claims to “the greatest reporter of them all,” before launching into a scene set at The Daily Planet, the document then states. The FBI curiously left fictional photographer Jimmy Olsen’s name in one instance but redacted Kent’s due to b(6) and b(7)(c) privacy exemptions. Kent’s name was confirmed to be the one redacted — not only by the clear setting of the fictional newspaper where he works in the comics and movies but also by the fact they failed to redact a “Mr.” in front of one use of his name, ruling out Lois Lane.
“It’s easy to laugh at this, and it is laughable, but it also highlights how bad the FBI is when it comes to FOIA,” Best said in a Monday statement to Gizmodo. “There are no explanations for this aside from gross incompetence, negligence, and/or bad faith. Even if this were an innocent mistake, the slightest amount of due diligence and research would have shown that The Daily Planet is fictional. Admiral Hardy’s FOIA staff at FBI couldn’t be bothered.”
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