Stephen Hays Russell, the student-leader of [the BYU spy-ring], signed a 1967 statement which made no reference whatever to the John Birch Society or to Ezra Taft Benson, even though the Birch connection appears in other sources.
Russell's 1967 statement acknowledged on page 3 that "if I 'got caught' at this, official university reactions would be that I was acting on my own," and on page 9 that Ernest Wilkinson expected Russell to be the "scapegoat". Although he implicated Wilkinson and two of Wilkinson's assistants already named by fellow-spy Hankin, all of Russell's other statements about BYU espionage were obviously intended to shield others beyond the BYU administrators who were involved.
[Source: Stephen Hays Russell statement, 13 Mar. 1967, typescript, signed at the bottom of each page by Stephen Hays Russell, folder 9, Hillam Papers, and box 34, Buerger Papers. From D. Michael Quinn, Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon Political Conflicts, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26:2 (Summer 1992), also in Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power Salt Lake City (Signature Books, 1994), Chapter 3.]