Inslaw Inc is an information technology firm which developed the famous PROMIS software, an NCIC-type tracking technology incorporating numerous databases such as court records, financial institutions, and utility companies. Inslaw was forced into bankruptcy in 1985 because the US Justice Dept., which contracted to purchase it, reneged on its obligations. Pirated versions of the software were sold by the US intelligence community worldwide to 88 foreign intelligence agencies, and other organizations such as banks. The program included a "backdoor" for US intelligence to hack into. Hillary Clinton was the intellectual property lawyer for a company that obtained and marketed copies of the stolen PROMIS software.
That company was Systematics Inc, of Little Rock Arkansas, now known as Alltel. Systematics was founded by Jackson Stephens of Stephens Inc., owners of Worthen Banking Corporation which bankrolled Bill Clinton's 1992 Presidential election campaign. Stephen's was also co-owner, along with the Lippo Group (the Riady family) of the American branch of BCCI which laundered drugs and arms sales in the Iran-Contra scandal. Systematics had an interest in further developing and marketing the stolen PROMIS software worldwide, with its hidden "backdoor" for US intelligence hackers, to monitor in real time financial transactions and money laundering at banks throughout the world. That backdoor can also be used by intelligence service hackers or others in possession of the program to launder money themselves.
DOJ defrauded Inslaw
The original contract between the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and Inslaw Inc was to develop a program for use by all 94 US Attorney offices in the 50 states and territories. PROMIS stands for Prosecutors Management Information System. When Bill Clinton was elected President, one of his first actions was the unprecedented step of firing all 94 US Attorneys and replacing them with his own hand picked successors. PROMIS has the ability to tap into the computers of services such as phone companies, water, electric and gas utilities, credit card companies, etc. PROMIS can search for specific information. For example, if a person suddenly started using more water, electricity, and phone service than usual, it might be suspected he had guests staying with him. PROMIS would then start searching for the records of his friends and associates, etc. This was of immense interest to US intelligence, who marketed the software worldwide to other intelligence agencies, complete with the hidden backdoor, to gather information from those intelligence agencies who were foolish enough to buy the software. US intelligence used Systematics as the front group to market the banking component of the software worldwide and get US and foreign banks to use it. By the mid to late 1980s, 70% of all domestic banks were using it.
But first the US Justice Department wanted to wrest control of the property rights to PROMIS from Inslaw. They did this by withholding payment and driving them into bankruptcy. The CIA procured a copy from the Department of Justice, and built in the added backdoor in total secrecy. Numerous unsolved homicides are connected with the government and subcontractor's actions as far back as 1981.
Two theories exist as to why the DOJ, and by extension the US intelligence establishment, defrauded Inslaw: (1) it was greed on the part of Justice Department officials who wanted to drive the company into bankruptcy so that they could buy it for themselves for pennies on the dollar; (2) because of the dire covert nature of the program the US government needed total control and was not about to pay licensing fees and royalties in perpetuity to some Mickey Mouse corporation for such an ambitious project of global dimensions.
Once the original version of PROMIS was delivered, the DOJ handed off a copy to CIA which subcontracted Wackenhut Corp. to develop the "backdoor." For this Wackenhut hired a technical and electronics wiz-kid, Michael Riconosciuto as its Research Director. A child prodigy who built an argon lasar at 16, invented the electroststic bomb, and published his Riconosciuto Italian to English dictionary still in use by most online translators among his many other inventions, Riconosciuto was put to work designing the covert "backdoor" for the co-opted PROMIS program. The work was done at a facility on the Cabazon Indian Reservation in Indio California. Another modification would take place in Little Rock, Arkansas, to tailor the PROMIS software for use by banks.
Wackenhut had formed a joint venture and leased land from the tribe for weapons development and testing, away from the prying eyes of local and state law enforcement. In 2009 a suspect was named and arrested in a triple homicide dating back 28 years whose victims included the Tribal Vice Chairman, who opposed the tribe's joint venture and lease, along with two other victims. Local police were fearful of investigating the case for nearly three decades and thought the climate had changed, but their fears proved to have some basis when the state dropped the case.
Inslaw was a mom n' pop operation owned by Bill and Nancy Hamilton. Riconosciuto gave a deposition sympathetic to the Hami!ton's case against the government. In it he said,
"7. In connection with my work for Wackenhut, I engaged in some software development and modification work in 1983 and 1984 on the proprietary PROMIS computer software product. The copy of PROMIS on which I worked came from the Department of Justice. Earl W. Brian made it available to me through Wackenhut after acquiring it from Peter Videnieks, who was then a Department of Justice contracting official with responsibility for the PROMIS software. I performed the modifications to PROMIS in Indio, California; Silver Spring, Maryland; and Miami, Florida. . . .
"8. The purpose of the PROMIS software modifications that I made in 1983 and 1984 was to support a plan for the implementation of PROMIS in law enforcement and intelligence agencies worldwide. Earl W. Brian was spearheading the plan for this worldwide use of the PROMIS computer software. . . .
"11. In February 1991, I had a telephone conversation with Peter Videnieks, then still employed by the U.S. Department of Justice. Videnieks attempted during this telephone conversation to persuade me not to cooperate with an independent investigation of the government's piracy of INSLAW's proprietary PROMIS software being conducted by the Committee on the Judiciary of the U.S. House of Representatives. . . ."13. Videnieks also outlined specific punishments that I could expect to receive from the U.S. Department of Justice if I cooperate with the House Judiciary Committee's investigation."
Eight days after Riconosciuto gave a deposition supporting the Hamilton's case, the DEA raided Riconosciuto's property alleging the science lab he had at home was really a meth lab and framed him up on illegal drug manufacturing and distribution charges. The DEA is part of the Department of Justice.
Meanwhile, the Israeli government had obtained the PROMIS software from Earl Brian, and with their own computer wiz-kid built their own hidden "backdoor" into it, and in a joint effort with US intelligence to combat terrorism, arms trafficking, narcotics, and money laundering, distributed their version of the software throughout the Middle East.
Because the US Justice Department withheld payment Inslaw filed for bancruptcy in 1985. Inslaw was represented by former US Attorney General Elliot Richardson of Saturday Night Massacre fame. Richardson had been fired by then President Nixon in 1973 for his refusal to fire Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox. Meantime Inslaw was audited by the IRS. The bancrupty judge ruled in 1987, "The Department of Justice took, converted, stole Inslaw's enhanced Promis by trickery, fraud and deceit," at the same time Hillary Clinton was representing clients who were marketing the stolen software. The judge found the DOJ engaged in an "outrageous, deceitful, fraudulent game of cat and mouse demonstrating total contempt for law and any principle of fair play. Inslaw was awarded $6.8 million on compensatory damages in addition to their $25 million claim agsinst DOJ. In actions pending a final disposition a few months later the judge held the Justice Department in contempt.
The day following the bankruptcy trial, a lawyer for the IRS requested the judge to liquidate Inslaw. The judge ruled agsinst him. However bancruptcy judges serve a limited term, and three months later when the judge's term expired, he was not reappointed. He was replaced with the very same IRS attorney he just ruled against over the liquidation issue.
The Department of Justice appealed the final bankruptcy ruling to US district court and the federal judge found DOJ "violated bankruptcy law by continuing to harass Inslaw after the company filed for bankruptcy protection and that it had improperly attempted to force the company to switch its bankruptcy filing" from reorganization to liquidation. And that "the Justice Department improperly continued to use and distribute the software," according to the Washington Post, through companies such as Systematics. Vince Foster, Webster Hubbell, and Hillary Clinton all represented Systematics at the time Systematics was illegally distributing the stolen software, and tampering with the Rose Law Firm's billing records later was a subject of the Whitewater investigation.
Much of the coverage the case got in the 1980s is couched in excessively partisan and conspiratorial language. As if the corruption and illegality connected with the case was strictly a Republican phenomena, and all that was needed was a Democratic administration to set things right. The Inslaw case carries with it several object lessons that not only transcend political affiliation, it can reveal the blindness and futility of being guided by partisanship. And the tragi-comedy of conspiracy theorists.
The Justice Department's treatment of Inslaw spawned two Congessional hearings, which were pretty much resolved along party lines. Oddly, the Senate went a step further. In its final report it did not acknowelge the original bankruptcy judge's ruling that the government "stole" from Inslaw; it claimed the DOJ "misappropriated" Inslaw's PROMIS software. No one paid any attention to all the strange deaths connected with the case.
Many of the early Inslaw investigative writers - Danny Casolaro included - began their quixotic adventure seeking the truth of the 1980 "October Surprise". Fundamentally, these were Democràtic partisan zeolets, of which there were few in 1980 and for several years thereafter, who were in denial of the incompetence of President Carter and the popularity of Ronald Reagan. They were more intent on exposing the corruption of the Reagan administration, of which there was plenty, than examining what the loss of Iran as an ally did to America's long term strategic interests. Rep. Lee Hamilton (no relation to the Hamiltons who owned Inslaw) of Indiana gained a national profile as a Democratic foreign policy expert by scolding Lt. Col. Oliver North on national TV for North's role in attempting to patch up relations with Iran. Rep. Hamilton waited 12 years to convene a Congressional investigation into the 1980 October Surprise until Bush Sr was running for reelection in 1992, only to announce a week before Bill Clinton was sworn in what everyone knew already: there was no October Surprise. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief (except Danny Casolaro, who was dead already). Maybe there isn't anything to this Inslaw thing either. But by this time what Ollie North and other Reaganites told Hamilton and the Iran-Contra Committee came true already - if the Iran-Iraq war ended with Saddam Hussein's army intact, he would be a threat to Kuwait and the United States would have to send 700,000 troops to dislodge him. That's why Reagan sold weapons to Iran.
Hamilton was rewarded for his vision and expertise when Bush Jr appointed him as the ranking Democrat on the 9/11 Commission. So he finally got a taste himself what its like to be dogged by conspiracy theorists. And when Hamilton was so intent on getting to the truth of Iran-Contra, why wasn't he looking at Mena airport. After all, the neighbors had been complaining for years, but it fell on deaf ears.
But there was the BCCI scandal also. And here we had the same cast of characters. Hillary Clinton, Vince Foster, Webster Hubbell, representing Systematics selling the stolen Inslaw software. Jackson Stephens, owner of Systematics in a joint venture with the Riadys brought BCCI to America. BCCI, the world's seventh-largest bank and first most corrupt, bought the stolen Inslaw software for banks all over the world.
What was lacking was a convenient fall guy. Clark Clifford won the endearment of the Left in the 1980s, famous for calling Reagan an "amiable dunce". Let's look momentarily at the career of this brilliant genuis before he was insulting presidents' and serving as Chairman of the Board of the American branch of BCCI.
Clifford already was a presidential advisor when Truman decided to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Clifford had a big hand in authoring the National Security Act of 1947 which created the NSA, CIA, and Department of Defense by merging the Departments of War and Navy. Clifford served on John Kennedy's PFIAB, an advisory board of intelligence experts ('wise men') who have been put out to pasture. After the Dept. of Defense told President Johnson the Vietnam war was hopeless, Johnson called Clifford out of retirement to manage the lost cause. When President Carter was wrestling with the Iranian hostage crisis, Carter had Clifford threaten war, which the US was ill-prepared for. With an international reputation as the man who advised presidents on using nukes, when he threatened Iran and Russia with war he was already working with BCCI. Jackson Stephens considered Clifford the perfect patsy; getting the US charter for BCCI was fraught with difficulties given the legal hurdles Stephens Inc and the Riadys had to overcome. Clifford's name on the Board, and a $6 million payoff for a guy who knew absolutely nothing about banking, sealed the deal.
So when the spaghetti hit the fan the 82 year old Clifford could argue he was like Reagan, senile and stupid. Most people felt sorry for the dottering old fool whose exemplary life of service was tarnished by shaddy characters who exploited him. A few underlings were persecuted as well, and Attorney Robert Fiske defended them. But those shaddy characters behind the scenes (whom Hillary Clinton represented at Systematics) were never held to account. In fact, at that same moment they were bankrolling Bill Clinton's presidential election, who was going to save us from this culture of corruption and abuse.
So the Clinton administration arrived to clean up this mess. And who became the White House liaison to the Justice Department which the federal courts and Congressional investigations of both Houses determined had acted unjustly for 10 years, none other than Webster Hubbell, who authored the charter for the Arkansas Development Finance Authority which laundered money for the Mena Arkansas dope smugglers. When questions arose over Vince Foster, Webster Hubbell and Hillary Clinton's role in the mess, the Justice Department appointed Robert Fiske to investigate. This satisfied everyone, particularly the New York Times and Washington Post. Everyone except a few paranoid Clinton-hating lunatic conspiracy theorists. Meanwhile, the Clinton body count seemed to expand into new areas and continued to pile up.
The foot dragging of Robert Fiske's investigation managed to keep the BCCI and Iran-Contra findings off the table for much of President Bill Clinton's first term, but as the turnover of House and Senate in the 1994 midterms approached also came the difficulty of hiding Robert Fiske's conflict of interest as a supposed Independent Counsel. Nevertheless, the objective was accomplished. The delays inherent in legal processes allowed the Clintons and Riadys to begin their illegal fundraiding activities for the 1996 and 1998 election cycles. By the time any of it could be uncovered, the goals will a have been met, the damage done and impossible to undo, and protective contingicies in place to protect willful violators of federal law. This fits the general pattern of the Clinton machine most long term observers are familiar with.
Given the experience gained with the Arkansas Development Finance Authority and the global proportions of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, the next step was to take the Clinton Foundation global. Hillary Clinton's loss to Barack Obama in 2008 had a silver lining: it gave the Clinton Foundation an additional eight years to grow even bigger and more powerful.
Investigative reporter Danny Casolaro had been working on a project he called The Octopus. Casolaro's investigation led into the Justice Department's theft of the PROMIS (Prosecutors Management Information System) software from Inslaw. This was happening at the same time as the clandestine gun running operation to supply the Nicaraguan Contras with weapons from Mena, Arkansas under the protection of then-governor Bill Clinton. The arming of the Contras was funded by smuggling narcotics and laundered through various banks, land flips, and a state agency, the Arkansas Development Finance Authority (ADFA) whose charter was drawn up by Webster Hubbell and signed into law by then-Governor Bill Clinton.
Casalero uncovered evidence of payment for arms trafficking to Iran with checks written by Saudi Arabian billionaire Adnan Khashoggie and Iranian-based businessman Manucher Ghorbanifar drawn on the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI).
The shoot down of one of the planes by Nicaragua and the capture of Eugene Hasenfus blew the cover off of the Mena operation and it became known as the Iran-Contra affair.
Casolaro apparently stumbled over the existence of a vast network of government operatives and politicians linked by the distribution of narcotics to raise money for anti-Communist guerillas in Central America. He was working on a book exposing the government-sanctioned drug running when he was found in a bathtub in a hotel room, his wrists both deeply slashed in a manner that the pathologist declared did not appear to have been done by Danny himself. In particular, the deep cuts severed the tendons of the fingers, which would have made it impossible for Danny to slash his other wrist with the now useless hand.
Despite this, the official verdict was "suicide", although none of Danny's friends and families believed that, especially those who had been direct witnesses to the many death threats he had received.
When found, the large accordion file of the notes for his new book had disappeared from his hotel room, evidently stolen by his killers.
- See Systematics Bibliography compiled by Orlin Grabbe to trace the growth of the company.
- Jim Quinn interview with James Norman, WRRK Radio Pittsburgh, December 7, 1995.
Editor's note: James Norman of Media Bypass Magazine published Fosergate, an article detailing the background and circumstances of Vince Foster's death. Norman, formally a Senior Editor of Forbes magazine, was terminated due to Fostergate's controversial and national security concerns regarding Foster being investigated for espionage, and Foster's link to a foreign intelligence organization. Fostergate originally had been written for Forbes magazine.
- For more detail on Jim Norman's departure from Forbes magazine, and efforts to suppress the story with Insight magazine, McClendon News Service, and the House Banking Committee, Jim Leach, Chairman. see Interview with Jim Norman by Marvin Lee of the Washington Weekly, August 21, 1995.
- Ari Ben-Menashe, Profits of War: The Senational Story of the World-Wide Arms Conspiracy, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1992,] pp. 131-132.
- Arkansas Systems of Little Rock sold the product to foreign central banks.
- See Quinn interview with James Norman, December 7, 1995
- Affidavit of Michael J. Riconosciuto, March 21, 1991
- Affidavit of Ari Ben-Menashe, March 21, 1991
- Ari Ben-Menashe, Profits of War, pp. 131-135, 137, 139-141
- Allegations Regarding Vince Foster, the NSA, and Banking Transactions Spying, Part XXXI, by J. Orlin Grabbe. "Stephens had even picked up some neat software from Earl 'Cash' Brian," i.e. the stolen PROMIS software. For more on Earl Brian see .
- We won't even get into what this spawned. Suffice it to say, after the victory President Bush Sr gave his New World Order speech on September 11, 1991. Ten years to day the 9/11 attacks occured, which was no coincidence.
- IRAN SPECIAL / DAY 89, Story No.: ABC306782-0 Source: ABC News Date: 01/31/1980 12:00 AM
- BCCI IN THE UNITED STATES, 1992."According to [Bert] Lance, he then turned to Clark Clifford, who had represented him in Congressional hearings into Lance's activities in Georgia, and asked Clifford to do due diligence on BCCI. When Clifford called Lance back to tell Lance that Abedi was "a man of integrity and character," Lance agreed to meet with Abedi and Naqvi in London, and there became BCCI's agent for its forays into the U.S.(15) Thus, by Lance's account, Clifford first had contact with BCCI on behalf of Lance in October, 1977."
- A Report to the Committee on Foreign Relations. United States Senate. Senator John Kerry and Senator Hank Brown. December 1992. Chapter 6. BCCI IN THE UNITED STATES, INITIAL ENTRY AND FGB AND NBG TAKEOVERS. The April 23, 1981 Federal Reserve Hearing. "Based on the representations made by Clifford, Altman, Tuttle, Adham, Fulaij, and the other Middle Eastern investors, the Federal Reserve, despite its obvious suspicions, approved the application on August 25, 1981. The Federal Reserve also granted a request, made by Altman on behalf of the Middle Eastern investors and CCAH [Credit and Commerce American Holdings] June 2, 1981, to seal portions of the transcript of the hearing, preventing anyone outside the Federal Reserve from learning the identities of several of the shareholders.(81)"
The True Account of the 1978 Takeover." The Federal Reserve found that BCCI also financed the start-up costs of CCAH and a $50 million loan to First American supposedly from an outside bank, BAII, which had interlocking directors with BCCI.(83)
In short, BCCI, Kamal Adham, Faisal al Fulaij, A.R.K. Khalil, and the other Middle Eastern nominees had secretly done precisely what the Federal Reserve had sought to assure they would not do, and had done precisely what they had promised not to do, in writing and in testimony to the Federal Reserve prior to its approval of the 1980 CCAH application. From late 1977 through December 1990, BCCI and its nominees lied to the Federal Reserve, repeatedly filling out false reports to the Federal Reserve, and providing the Federal Reserve false statements and information."
- EXECUTIVE SUMMARY to Inslaw's Analysis and Rebuttal of the Bua Report
- INSLAW's ANALYSIS and REBUTTAL of the BUA REPORT, July 11, 1993.
- Inslaw, the Continuing Caper", UNCLASSIFIED
- Angel of Death Gives Deposition to Justice Department in Inslaw Case, by J. Orlin Grabbe
- "The Octopus" Secret Government and the Death of Danny Casolaro and The PROMIS Software
- PROMIS-Riconosciuto-Ptech-Dov Zakheim-911-BAH-SAIC-Tim Osman