While hunting Soviet spy, FBI feared angering Scientologists

Bureau considered abandoning a lead if it meant conflict with the COS

Written by Emma Best
Edited by JPat Brown

A Priority Teletype from the FBI’s Legat in London to the Director outlined an interesting problem - the Bureau had been asked to help with a case involving Stig Bergling, a Swede who had apparently been spying for the Soviets, and a woman in the Tampa area might have information as to his whereabouts.

There was just one snag - they were afraid it might lead to a confrontation with the Church of Scientology.

Despite the concerns, the interview went forward. The details of this woman’s involvement are mostly redacted. In a subsequent interview, the mystery woman explained that she had only ever spoken to Stig Bergling AKA Stig Sandberg once, and that was on the phone.

She may have come to the attention of the Bureau as a result of a Swedish reporter who had previously contacted her. She had apparently become aware of the fugitive status of Stig Bergling and his wife as a result of this reporter showing her a newspaper article.

She also asserted that she hadn’t heard from either of them and didn’t know where they were.

From there, the investigation (for the FBI) more or less ended with a promise to be apprised if any new information came about. For us, however, the question remains - who was this woman, and what was the connection to the Church of Scientology that might have resulted in a confrontation?

Little information can be derived on the Scientology question, except that the woman may have been a member. On the question of who she was, however, a few details can be extracted. A mostly redacted paragraph ends with the note that someone (presumably, but not definitely this woman) “is planning to remain in the United States.” The file also ends with the note that, upon returning to somewhere, that she would tell her family about the Bureau’s interest.

Beyond the implication that she may have been foreign and connected to the Church of Scientology, this case remains largely a mystery - and one of many in the strange story of Stig Bergling.

Read the file embedded below, or on the request page.


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Image via Wikimedia Commons and is licensed under CC BY 2.0