The National Security Agency’s bizarre FOIA response to its involvement in the Inslaw affair and stolen PROMIS software highlight two significant problems that often arises in these types of internal investigations. The first is that the government’s bias and desire to clear itself can undermine the results of the investigation, and erode public faith. The second problem, which arises from the first, is that it indirectly encourages a culture of suspicion and occasionally outright conspiratorial thinking.
A recently unearthed Central Intelligence Agency memo highlights the difficulties with investigating the sprawling “Inslaw affair” and the case of the stolen PROMIS software, showing that the Agency was offered a copy of PROMIS as early as 1981.
Following a FOIA appeal, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has released ten new pages of their investigation into links between the PROMIS scandal, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, and the mysterious death of Danny Casolaro. FOIA lawyers and experts are divided as to whether this new release implies the Bureau previously improperly cited the “open investigation” exemption, or whether it had stopped being applicable between the initial FOIA response and the appeal.
The official version of events surrounding Danny Casolaro’s death has been questioned since the beginning, but several recent revelations resulting from the release of government documents have undermined it. While there are still questions about Casolaro’s death, there are over a dozen reasons to doubt the official conclusions.
As part of the investigation into the death of journalist Danny Casolaro, the local police created a videotaped “reenactment” of his alleged suicide. The tape was used later to help an expert conclude the death was a suicide, and then seized along with the other evidence by the federal government. In response to a FOIA request for a copy of the tape, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has declared that it’s exempt from release - but won’t say why.