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Context of 'Before August 10, 1991: Source Provides Information for Journalist Investigating Inslaw Affair'

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Daniel Casolaro, a journalist investigating the Inslaw affair and matters he believes to be related, makes several calls to Thomas Gates, an FBI agent. According to sworn testimony Gates will later provide to the House Judiciary Committee, there are several such calls over a four week period that ends when Casolaro is found dead (see August 10, 1991). Although Casolaro’s death will be ruled a suicide, Gates will say that the journalist sounds “upbeat” during the calls. The reason Casolaro contacts Gates is unclear, although Gates may have been investigating Robert Nichols, a source for Casolaro (see Before August 10, 1991). [US Congress, 9/10/1992]

Entity Tags: Daniel Casolaro, Thomas Gates

Timeline Tags: Inslaw and PROMIS

Daniel Casolaro, a journalist investigating the Inslaw affair and matters he believes to be related, is told to “back off” the story, according to his brother Anthony. In a statement made after Daniel is found dead (see August 10, 1991), Anthony Casolaro will say that on this date his brother tells him, “someone else told me I better back off the story.” [US Congress, 9/10/1992]

Entity Tags: Anthony Casolaro, Daniel Casolaro

Timeline Tags: Inslaw and PROMIS

Robert Nichols, a businessman who is of interest to the FBI, provides information to Daniel Casolaro, a journalist investigating the Inslaw affair and matters he believes to be related. There is some dispute about the significance of this information. According to Inslaw owner William Hamilton and Michael Riconosciuto, another figure who becomes involved in the Inslaw affair, Nichols is Casolaro’s primary source of information in his investigation into the alleged theft of the PROMIS software. However, in a later telephone interview with investigators for the House Judiciary Committee, Nichols will say that he was acting as a sounding board for Casolaro, and providing direction and insight for his investigation into the Inslaw affair. [US Congress, 9/10/1992]

Entity Tags: Daniel Casolaro, Michael Riconosciuto, Robert Booth Nichols, William Hamilton

Timeline Tags: Inslaw and PROMIS

The dead body of Daniel Casolaro, a journalist investigating the Inslaw affair and matters he believed to be related, is found in a hotel room in Martinsburg, West Virginia. The body is found in the bathtub with both of its wrists slashed several times. There is no sign of forced entry into the hotel room nor of a struggle. A short suicide note is found. The police initially think the death is a suicide and the scene is not sealed and protected, which, according to the House Judiciary Committee, “potentially allow[s] for the contamination of the possible crime scene.” In addition, the room is reportedly cleaned before a thorough criminal investigation can be conducted. A brief preliminary investigation leads the police to confirm their initial suspicion of suicide. Casolaro’s work on a story about the alleged theft of an enhanced version of PROMIS software by the Justice Department from Inslaw had led him to believe that it was related to other scandals, such as those involving the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) and Iran-Contra. Casolaro had told his family and friends that he was going to Martinsburg to meet a source who had important information, although the source’s identity is unknown. Following his death, all Casolaro’s notes and papers disappear. A stack of typed pages that usually sat on top of his desk at home vanish. In addition, notes Casolaro always kept with him disappear. His brother Anthony will later say that he finds the disappearance of all the papers surprising. “Somebody cleaned out his car and his room,” Anthony will say. “If my brother did that [killed himself], it seems as though [his papers] should have been found.” [US Congress, 9/10/1992]

Entity Tags: Anthony Casolaro, Daniel Casolaro

Timeline Tags: Inslaw and PROMIS

Thomas Gates, an FBI agent who had been contacted by recently deceased journalist Daniel Casolaro several times shortly before his death (see (July 13-August 10, 1991)), suspects that Casolaro has been murdered (see August 10, 1991). Gates communicates these suspicions to the local police in Martinsburg, West Virginia, where Casolaro died, and to the local FBI office. According to Gates, Casolaro sounded very “upbeat” and not like a person contemplating suicide in their conversations, even in the days before his death. In addition, Casolaro’s phone book, which had contained a number for Gates, has disappeared. What’s more, the local police tell Gates that the wounds on Casolaro’s wrists were “hacking” wounds, and Gates feels the amount of injury to the arms is not consistent with injuries inflicted by a suicide. Gates will also later share his suspicions with the House Judiciary Committee. [US Congress, 9/10/1992]

Entity Tags: Daniel Casolaro, Thomas Gates

Timeline Tags: Inslaw and PROMIS

Inslaw counsel Elliot Richardson writes to Justice Department special counsel Judge Nicholas Bua urging further investigation into the death of reporter Daniel Casolaro (see August 10, 1991). Richardson writes: “During the three days preceding his [Casolaro’s] death he told four friends in the course of four different telephone conversations that he was about to go to West Virginia to meet someone from whom he was confident of receiving definitive proof of what had happened to the PROMIS software and to Inslaw. There is no apparent reason why Casolaro would have lied to those four friends, nor is there any apparent reason why his friends would deliberately and concertedly misrepresent what he said to them. It is not likely, on the other hand, that Casolaro had unrealistic expectations either toward the significance of the evidence he anticipated receiving or toward the prospect that it would be delivered. He had, after all, been on the Inslaw case for one year, and he was bound to know as well as any other of the investigative reporters then pursuing it that promises of hard evidence had often been made and just as often disappointed. In the light of these facts, the key question is, with whom was Danny Casolaro expecting to meet and with whom did he meet?” [US Congress, 9/10/1992]

Entity Tags: Elliot Richardson, Nicholas Bua, Inslaw, Inc.

Timeline Tags: Inslaw and PROMIS

Robert Nichols, an apparently significant player in the Inslaw affair and a contact of Daniel Casolaro, a journalist who investigated the matter, provides a telephone interview to the House Judiciary Committee. Nichols was allegedly a key contact of Casolaro’s (see Before August 10, 1991), although the reporter was found dead the previous year (see August 10, 1991). Despite providing the telephone interview, Nichols declines to make a sworn statement. [US Congress, 9/10/1992]

Entity Tags: Robert Booth Nichols, House Judiciary Committee

Timeline Tags: Inslaw and PROMIS

The death of Daniel Casolaro, a journalist who investigated the Inslaw affair and matters he believed to be related, is again ruled a suicide by local authorities in Martinsburg, West Virginia. Casolaro died there in August of the previous year (see August 10, 1991), and his death was initially ruled a suicide. However, the investigation was reopened following numerous inquiries by Casolaro’s brother and others into the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death. After expending over 1,000 man-hours investigating Casolaro’s death, the local authorities again rule it to be a suicide. [US Congress, 9/10/1992]

Entity Tags: Daniel Casolaro

Timeline Tags: Inslaw and PROMIS

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