Investigative reporter Danny Casolaro was on the verge of allegedly exposing an network of intelligence agents, organized crime members and U.S. officials responsible for every major scandal of the 1980's, including: Iran-Contra, The October Surprise and the BCCI scandal. Casolaro called this network "The Octopus."
CODE NAME OCTOPUS:
Danny Casolaro was born on June 16, 1947, the first of six children. His father was a prominent physician. The Casolaro's had their share of heartbreak, one child was born with a heart defect and lived briefly and the oldest sister Lisa, would die of a drug overdose, her death was ruled a suicide.
Casolaro dropped out of college to work for the National Enquirer, he also became a reporter for Computer Age. In 1990, Casolaro got the lead on the Inslaw conspiracy story. Inslaw was a software company formed in 1980. The company was owned by William and Nancy Hamilton. The software they developed-Promis, could help prosecutors across the country keep track of important investigations. They signed a three year contract with the government. After the first year, the Hamilton's claim that payments were delayed and they were driven out of business because government officials wanted to gain control of Promis for personal gain. The government denied the allegations and Inslaw filed for bankruptcy.
While doing research on this story, Casolaro came across a bigger conspiracy, the Octopus. This story would consume Casolaro, night and day. He worked on it 16 hours a day, staying on the phone for hours, operating on 2-3 hours a sleep. Meeting with sources, CIA spooks and spies. He chased down every lead, spoke to anonymous callers and compiled notes. This story allegedly, connected government officials, crime figures and Intelligence agents with a covert network that was allegedly responsible for every major government scandal of the 1980's: Iran-Contra, The October Surprise and the BCCI scandal. He was going to meet a super-source in Martinsburg, West Virginia, this source could supply the missing pieces to the puzzle and Casolaro would conclude his investigation by exposing top government officials, mob figures and rogue intelligence agents. This bombshell could bring down the government, ruin careers and send people to prison.
Casolaro believed "The Octopus" was an international group of eight men, responsible for the above scandals. He believed that these same men were behind the alleged 1980 deal during the Reagan administration-to keep the U.S. hostages in Iran on ice. In a book proposal, Casolaro described these men as a group of thugs and thieves who roam every corner of the continent with their weapons and their murders, trading dope and dirty money. A few weeks before his Martinsburg trip, Casolaro began receiving death threats urging him to back off the story. Over lunch, Casolaro told his brother, "if something should happen to me in Martinsburg, or I get hurt, don't believe it's an accident." Casolaro arrived in Martinsburg with briefcases full of notes and documents regarding the "Octopus." He planned to meet with an IRS source who would give him hardcopy information on certain targets who were involved in the Octopus conspiracy.
The info would also show evidence of a money trail. He also looked forward to meeting his elusive super-source. The last sighting of Danny Casolaro was recalled by a waitress who saw Casolaro in the company of an Arab or Iranian man. Just after 12 noon on August 10, 1991, chambermaids at the Sheraton Inn in Martinsburg, West Virginia found the body of a nude man in a bathtub full of bloody water. The dead man was Danny Casolaro. A suicide note lay nearby: TO MY LOVED ONES, PLEASE FORGIVE ME, MOST ESPECIALLY MY SON, AND BE UNDERSTANDING. GOD WILL LET ME IN.
The investigation into Casolaro's death by the local authorities was compromised from the beginning. The room was not sealed off with crime scene tape, the tub was not drained for evidence, the door containing blood splatter and possible fingerprints was not removed. The death was quickly ruled a suicide without any type of investigation.
Casolaro's wrists were slashed in twelve places. A paramedic on the scene stated: "The cuts on the right wrist extended to his tendons, and the cuts on the left wrists hit tendons. I've never seen such deep incisions on a suicide, I don't know why he didn't pass out from the pain after the first two slashes." Family members, friends, and critics were not buying the suicide theory. His family was not immediately notified regarding his death, it took the authorities a full two days before they notified the family. His body was also embalmed without the family's permission. Before the emergency crews arrived, the head housekeeper saw two bloody towels under the sink, she told an investigator "It looked like someone threw the towels on the floor and tried to wipe the blood up with their foot." The towels were accidentally thrown away. According to a physician who reviewed the autopsy. Casolaro's wrist gashes didn't have the usual hesitation marks of a suicide.
His numerous "Octopus" notes and documents disappeared without a trace. They have never been recovered. Casolaro was not a deeply religious man yet he refers to GOD in his suicide note. Casolaro was very squeamish regarding needles and blood. He was also uncomfortable in the nude yet he was found naked, dead in a bathtub full of bloody water. Casolaro often remarked to family and friends "I could never commit suicide after what Lisa's (his sister's) death did to my family."
Sources: Spy Magazine, "The Octopus" by Kenn Thomas and Jim Keith and "The 60 Greatest Conspiracies Of All Time" by Jonathan Vankin & John Whalen.