I have seen accusations directed at some on ARS, that the person might be working for Scientology's Dept 20 (Office of Special Affairs) and someone else saying they probably don't but they might as well...blah blah.
Someone please go back to the fairly recent (and excellent) article in the NY Times about Scientology and the IRS. In it, you will find my wife Stacy being quoted. She created and ran a Dept 20 (now called OSA - then called the Guardian's Office) "whistleblowers" front group intended to attack the IRS. She brought in some non-Scienos to front on it. (They weren't really all that difficult to find and they loved the idea of support.) She told them what to do. The guy she brought in is quoted in the article saying - and get this, he's saying this a decade later - that he doesn't think the group was being run by Scientology!
This is both sad and amusing but most of all it is instructive. We (collectively in Dept 20) ran a lot of front group actions and the idea on many was to really keep it at "arm's length" from Scientology. Otherwise, why do a front group? This guy, quoted in the NY Times, fronted for the cult in his attack on the IRS. He disliked the IRS so he really didn't care to see where the support was coming from and he STILL doesn't really care. (That's the PERFECT agent, one who denies it even when he's TOLD he's an agent!) (LOL!)
He was an "agent" of Scientology in the sense that he was put there by them and basically run by them to attack Scientology's perceived enemy. His energy was channeled/funneled/directed. We can get into all sorts of philosophic discussions on this one but right there in the NY Times is a classic example of someone run by the cult who to this day still denies it.
My point is this: someone can be an active agent of the cult and never even know it and even deny it, just as this guy still does today even though his "handler" blew the whistle on the scam.
I'm not saying so-and-so on ARS is an agent. I'm just saying it can be done by the cult without a person knowing it.
So how's it done? Usually through a "cutout". A cutout is another person that intervenes, so the actual source can't be seen. If I want to get some material to you and not allow you to know where it came from, I would send it to a cutout who would front for me, saying the material is from him/her and give it to you.
A cutout on ARS would give material to a person here on ARS, support them in some way with material or facts or information or leads or even ideas. The cutout gets their material from the actual source, who wants to remain hidden but will benefit. So it goes from Source to Cutout to Agent. It is okay if the Cutout is exposed and in some cases it is even okay if it is traced back to the Source. It depends on the nature of the operation. In the case of the IRS front group, it was really okay if it came back to Scientology, but it was better if it wasn't as it created the impression that there were others who were attacking the IRS along the same lines as Scientology.
Stacy took it one more step. What she did was get the group rolling, have them make statements attacking the IRS (often with a press conference) and then print them in "Freedom" as if they were reporting the news. (She was the editor of "Freedom" so that made it easy.) The fraud, of course, was not reporting that they were the ones planting the story! It's an old intell disinformation trick that is still employed by the cult.
Robert Vaughn Young