Cover Story

hether they liked him or not, most who knew Leo Ryan agreed he had flamboyance, tenacity, nerve and a knack for drawing attention to social abuses. A man who marched to the beat of his own drum, he galled bureaucrats, some of whom, according to a former aide, viewed the Democratic congressman from Northern California as the worst-case-scenario bull in their china shop.

     After the riots in Watts in 1965, Ryan, then a California state legislator, traveled to that community under a false identity and became a substitute teacher to investigate conditions in the black community. Five years later, he again went undercover and had himself strip-searched and locked up in Folsom State Prison to discover what life in such a facility was really like. In 1978, he made plans to spend that Christmas season incognito once again, this time as a Postal Service employee to investigate complaints of bad working conditions.

     As a congressman, his brassiness caused him to routinely do things which to others were unthinkable, such as “dropping in” at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, to interrogate the spymasters about what they hadn’t been telling Congress.

     “He was,” according to a source formerly close to Ryan, and who once accompanied him on a trip to Langley, “a pain in their ass.” [Top Secret]

     As a member of the House of Representatives’ International Relations Committee and its foremost CIA critic, he was the House sponsor of the Hughes-Ryan Amendment, a 1974 law that required the CIA to notify eight separate committees of Congress—totaling some 200 legislators and staff—prior to conducting undercover operations.

     Hughes-Ryan also banned CIA covert paramilitary operations which were not expressly approved by the president and Congress. The agency hated this, a former Ryan associate told Freedom. But the Hughes-Ryan Amendment, which seriously restricted CIA covert operations internationally, was only one index of Leo Ryan’s impact.

     In 1975, Ryan leaked word of the CIA’s involvement in the Angolan civil war to CBS newsman Daniel Schorr, creating a wave of major embarrassment for the agency which reverberated for years.

     In 1977 and 1978, Ryan pressured the agency to reveal the extent of its involvement in psychiatric “mind-control” experiments. Among the tests he pushed to expose were those performed in the early 1970s on inmates at a state hospital in Vacaville, California, which may have included among their subjects Donald DeFreeze, known as “Cinque,” a central figure in the 1974 kidnapping of Patricia Hearst.


| Previous | Glossary of Scientology Terms | Contents | Next |
| Your view on this Scientology Website | Scientology Related Sites | Bookstore | Church of Scientology Freedom Magazine |
© 1997-2008 Church of Scientology International. All Rights Reserved.

For Trademark Information