Jason Beghe phoned me to catch up with hurricane aftermath news. He told me that shortly after the New Yorker story ran a John Connolly, who represents himself as a Vanity Fair regular contributor, phoned Jason. Connolly tried to pump Jason for anything he knew about the New Yorker’s investigation. A covert investigation of the author Lawrence Wright. While doing so Connolly attempted to drive a wedge between Jason on the one side and Mike Rinder and I on the other. Since Jason didn’t just fall off the turnip truck Connolly did, hard.
John Connolly has been a Church of Scientology Office of Special Affairs informant for nearly two decades. He has infiltrated several journalists doing stories on Scientology during that time, posing as a like-minded investigative journalist working on a Scientology story. Journalists have apparently either not compared notes, or simply not noticed that Connolly hasn’t delivered on a Scientology story in the twenty years he says he’s been working on one. Connolly was originally recruited by Eugene Martin Ingram.
Here is an excerpt from a document authored by then-DCO External OSA INT (currently CO OSA INT – and at all times since the early eighties to the present Intelligence Chief OSA Int effectively) Linda Hamel. The document is dated, coincidentally, 14 February 2006 – five years ago, today. It reports on Connolly’s spy work against the author of the unauthorized biography of Tom Cruise, UK journalist Andrew Morton.
Welcome to the sunlight John Connolly.
14 Feb 2006
Connolly was here in LA working on the Pellicano story and contacted Morton and met with him on the basis of gaining his cooperation to be interviewed for an article for Vanity Fair about the books Morton has done on celebrities including the one he is writing on Tom Cruise. Connolly wanted to see what Morton was like and get any information about where Morton is currently at with regard to writing the book and to see if Morton would agree to be interviewed for an article. Based on the meeting, Connolly said that Morton seems to have finished his research already and is busy writing the book.
Connolly told Morton that it would not be a puff piece and would show both sides including what would be said about Morton. (Connolly will use the article to investigate Morton’s past treatment of other celebrities, use of sleazy sources, etc. that would undermine Morton’s credibility). Morton said he would check with St. Martin’s Press to get their take on cooperating for the story. Morton seems to be interested in generating publicity for the book.
Connolly’s impression of Morton is that he is a serious writer and is a focused person but enjoyable to talk to. He knows how to use his charm to get people to talk. Morton also told him that it only took him five weeks to write the Monica Lewinsky book – so he is capable of churning out a lot in a short period of time.
Morton said that he thought that Tom Cruise was a good story and that is why he wanted to write the book. The reporter got the impression from talking with Morton that Morton has collected a lot of information about the Church and that this will be well covered in the book. Morton also mentioned that he has an assistant who is working for him.
Morton also said that he had met Paul Barresi a couple of times but did not go into the details of what Barresi said.
Connolly’s impression is that Morton is a formidable adversary who is not going to back down. He thinks that Morton has made up his mind already as to the angle of the book but did not specifically say what it was.
Morton mentioned that he had received a nasty letter from Bert Fields – he didn’t have any further comment about this.
Morton asked if Anthony Pelicano ever worked for the client (the Church). Connolly, who is an expert on Pelicano said “no” and he doesn’t think that Tom Cruise has ever met Pelicano. Connolly will be getting back to Morton to see what St. Martin’s Press says. He has been given background documents that we have on Morton and on Barresi who we know that Morton has been using.
This UK reporter that we have a line to has helped get information out about Morton hiring Paul Barresi. He is willing to continue to feed information and documents to the UK tabloids to discredit Morton. He made a proposal that he could rapidly write a pre-emptive positive book about Mr. Cruise, which he thought would undermine the one from St. Martin’s Press. However, when this idea of a pre-emptive book was checked with Tommy Davis, it was not something that he felt Mr. Cruise would want.
This UK reporter will continue to be used for feeding information and stories to the UK tabloids about Morton. There is a rumor about Morton no longer being with his UK publisher Michael O’Mara which will be checked into to see if there was a conflict or a falling out. This could possibly be another attack point on Morton if it is found that there was a falling out.
In the US Connolly, wants to do an investigative story and put a piece together on Morton and his use of sleazy sources in the books he has done about celebrities such as Madonna, the Beckhams and Tom Cruise. This would attack Morton on his reputation questioning the credibility of his sources.