Pat Broeker could say what no one else in Scientology could: He outranked David Miscavige.
But he left the church in 1989 and started a new life in Colorado. Still, Miscavige worried about him.
"He (Miscavige) came directly to me,'' Marty Rathbun recalled. "He said, 'Marty, you get on this guy. I want to know every move he makes.' "
Broeker and his wife, Annie, assisted Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard in the months before he died in 1986. Hubbard bestowed on each of them the title "loyal officer,'' outranking Captain Miscavige.
Pat Broeker had something else: Hubbard's written research of Scientology's upper levels of counseling and training, completed in his last years. Without the papers, Broeker would be diminished. Rathbun said he and Miscavige came up with a plan.
With Miscavige and Broeker on a trip to Washington, D.C., Rathbun told the caretaker at the Broeker ranch that the FBI was about to raid the place; he needed to get in right away and get sensitive documents out of there. Rathbun said he and Miscavige put them in a church safe.
Broeker was done. He set out for the Rockies.
Miscavige wanted him watched, said Rathbun, who arranged for two private investigators to find and stay on Broeker.
One became a drinking buddy and gave Broeker a cordless phone as a Christmas gift.
In the early 1990s, before cordless phones became sophisticated, conversations could be monitored via a police scanner from a block or two away. It was a legal practice.
"Dave loved this idea,'' Rathbun said. "He wanted to hear as many conversations as he could with Pat. We recorded all his conversations for probably a year. We knew everything he was up to.''
Broeker relocated to Wyoming, and the PIs followed.
Rathbun said his direct involvement in the "Broeker op'' ended in 1992, when he went to Washington to help Miscavige negotiate the church's tax status with the IRS.
Rathbun stayed beside Miscavige another decade before leaving Scientology. Rathbun's closest associate, Mike Rinder, left two years ago.
Last March, they reconnected at Rinder's apartment in Denver and shared stories. Rathbun recalled setting up the Broeker surveillance in 1989.
Rinder had a fresher memory. Early in 2007, Miscavige had him recommend cuts in his departmental budget, which included expenses for intelligence operations.
Rinder said he asked his staff about a line item he couldn't understand. He was told: That's for the Broeker op, and it's untouchable.
Broeker did not respond to interview requests left with his family.