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44. Danny Casolaro and the Surveillance State

The story at the heart of every major conspiracy theory

Joseph Daniel Casolaro (everyone knew him as Danny) was a journalist who died in Martinsburg, West Virginia, thirty years ago this August. He was in town working on a book tentatively titled The Octopus, which promised to tie together damn near every conspiracy theory of the decade: including the October Surprise, Iran-Contra, and the FEMA concentration camps.

When Casolaro was found dead in room 517 of the Sheraton Hotel, his wrists slashed with a razor blade, the medical examiner ruled the death a suicide — a ruling that continues to be controversial.

In this installment of Failed State Update, we speak to journalist Tim Shorrock and historian Jack Calhoun about PROMIS — the software that sits at the center of The Octopus — and its surprising relevance to the modern surveillance state. 

We also speak to Dominic Orlando, Danny's cousin, who shares his thoughts on the media's (mis)handling of the story.

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