Skip to main content

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.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended for You