Some students in Brigham Young University's Washington, D.C., seminar were recruited to "spy" on professors there. One of the student reports of faculty surveillance intended for Ezra Taft Benson's office instead ended up on the desk of Mark E. Petersen. After being informed of this "spy ring" by Apostle Petersen, BYU's president Dallin H. Oaks angrily referred to "that Birch Mafia that surrounds ETB." Apostle Benson had put William O. Nelson in charge of this most recent effort at BYU espionage. Nelson was Benson's secretary in the Church Administration Building.
[Source: Duane E. Jeffery memorandum, 26 Oct. 1977, folder 28, box 6, Buerger Papers.; 299. "LDS Official Acknowledges Church Monitors Critics," Salt Lake Tribune, 8 Aug. 1992, D-l; "LDS Leaders Say Scripture Supports Secret Files on Members," Salt Lake Tribune, 14 Aug. 1992, B-1. 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.]