Tony Ortega, editor-in-chief at the Village Voice in New York, reports this morning that the top man in the Church of Scientology used Michael Doven, then Tom Cruise's personal assistant, to get reports from inside the actor's household between 1991 and 2005. (Doven is now a photographer of celebrity Scientologists for magazines, Ortega says.) The best information on Doven's activities comes from the church's former number two executive, Mark Rathbun, the Voice reporter says.
"Doven was there the entire time, reporting to Miscavige everything that Tom was doing," Rathbun told me. When I asked Rathbun how he knew that, he answered in Scientology jargon: "How do I know that? Because I was on that line."
"Doven was personally reporting to you what Tom was doing?" I asked him, for clarification.
"Absolutely," Rathbun answered. "He'd be telling me what was happening with Nic [Nicole Kidman], what was happening in the household, what was happening between Tom and Steven Spielberg. He had been reporting to us from the early 1990s." After 1996, Rathbun says, Doven was making those reports directly to him, and Rathbun was in turn giving the information directly to Miscavige.
In 1998 or 1999, Claire Headley says she too became part of those communications while she worked with Rathbun at the Religious Technology Center, one of Scientology's entities at the church's secretive desert base.
"I was a party to the conversations that Doven was supposed to be, you know, feeding us information and getting Tom back on lines," she says. "I do remember that Doven's reporting led up to retrieving Tom.
That's a reference to the church luring Cruise back into Scientology after a period of estrangement that reportedly triggered the surveillance.