The Church of Scientology vs. "Rogue Agent"

This page created by Ron Newman.
Last revised February 18, 1996.

A Boston-area resident posting under the pseudonym "Rogue Agent" (, later was one of the Church of Scientology's most effective critics on the Net during 1994 and 1995. Although he was never a member of the Church of Scientology, he showed a deep understanding of the Church's ideology, it's "secret scriptures", and its policies. Scientologists who foolishly tried to debate with him on the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology usually found themselves at a severe disadvantage.

Rogue has been such an effective critic that the Church has repeatedly tried to find out his identity, without success. After the Church seized FACTnet's computer files in an August 1995 raid, they included the string "Rogue Agent" in a list of keywords that they used while searching the seized disks.

During 1995, Rogue helped to organize several demonstrations outside the Church's Boston headquarters, which annoyed the Church greatly. Annoyed them enough, in fact, that someone apparently falsely represented herself as a critic of the Church in two e-mail letters to Rogue just before the September 9, 1995 protest, trying to arrange a meeting with Rogue. (It didn't work.)

On December 1, 1995, the Church's Office of Special Affairs faxed a 9-page complaint against Rogue to the in-house lawyer for Northeastern University in Boston, where Rogue had his primary Internet account. The complaint was signed by Annette Ross, "Legal Officer" for the Church of Scientology of Boston. Ross alleged that Rogue had harassed members of her church and had somehow sent a computer virus to one of her "parishioners". Ross also complained about Rogue's use of the Northeastern computer to organize the September 9 protest, even while admitting that "there is nothing illegal in staging a protest."

Northeastern University's lawyer and its dean for computing services both recognized that Ross's complaint was totally groundless. However, the complaint did draw attention to the fact that Rogue's account was anonymous, and that Rogue's true identity was not known to anyone at Northeastern. Since this was a violation of University rules, the dean of computing suspended Rogue's account on December 8, and invited Rogue to a hearing on December 13.

At that hearing, the dean gave Rogue the choice of of attaching his True Name to the account or losing it. Rogue reluctantly decided to lose the Northeastern account, although mail will still forward from to his new account at . Rogue told the full story in Shelley Thomson's e-zine **Biased Journalism** #6, published December 17, 1995.

That seemed to end the matter for a while. For the next six weeks, Rogue remained active on alt.religion.scientology and on the IRC channel #scientology, but used his New Hack City account instead of the Northeastern University one. But on Saturday, February 3, 1996, Rogue suddenly posted a goodbye message to the newsgroup, saying "I'm leaving a.r.s and stopping all Scientology criticism activities, as of today", and giving no explanation. The same day, he announced on IRC that he was leaving the #scientology IRC channel as well, and would no longer participate even as a silent lurker. Again, he gave no explanation, except to say that "others are getting involved & drawn in, I don't want them hurt".

Rogue has assured me and others that the Church of Scientology never did find out his identity, and that he still "believes in the cause". But he's retired from the battlefield, and many netizens around the world mourn his departure.

Return to the Harassment of Netizens page or the Scientology vs. the Net main page.

Ron Newman, <>