Joseph A. Cafasso

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Joseph Anthony Cafasso, Jr.
Born (1956-08-02) August 2, 1956 (age 57)
Carteret, New Jersey
Occupation former consultant, con artist
Children a daughter
Parents Joseph A. Cafasso, Sr. and Giovanna "Jenny" Cafasso (née Mosca)

Joseph Anthony Cafasso, Jr. (born August 2, 1956) is a former Fox News consultant on military and counterterrorism issues who left the network after allegations surfaced that he misrepresented his military record.

Early life[edit]

Born in 1956, Cafasso was raised in Carteret, New Jersey by parents Joseph A. Cafasso, Sr. and Giovanna "Jenny" Cafasso (née Mosca) as part of a large family; he has four sisters, one brother. His father was a chemist for a company in New Jersey. Cafasso graduated from Carteret High School before enlisting in the Army in 1976.[1][2]

TWA Flight 800 investigation[edit]

In the late 1990s, Cafasso became involved with events following the crash of TWA Flight 800 through his association with the Associated Retired Aviation Professionals, an organization that claimed to be conducting its own independent investigation into the cause of the crash. (The group had been spearheading a campaign to prove that the airplane was shot down by a missile; it submitted its findings in July 1998 in a document known informally as the "Donaldson Report", named after ARAP founder Cmdr. William S. Donaldson.)[3] In November of that year, shortly after Cafasso appeared with Donaldson at a conference sponsored by Reed Irvine's think tank, Accuracy in Media,[4] he published an article about the investigation under the byline "legislative director" of the ARAP.[5] Some time thereafter, members of the group began questioning Cafasso's military background and according to Donaldson, Cafasso would not produce his official record when requested to do so. As a result, Donaldson disassociated his organization from Cafasso.[6]

Political activities[edit]

Previous to his employment with Fox News, Cafasso had worked for the Pat Buchanan 2000 presidential campaign, fundraising and running petition drives.[7] Official campaign finance records show that Cafasso was being reimbursed by the Buchanan campaign committee for travel and other expenses.[8]

He also became involved with a humanitarian organization led by Serbian-American activist David Vuich that was seeking to help people in Yugoslavia in the aftermath of the 1999 NATO bombing campaign.[6]

Departure from Fox News[edit]

Cafasso had claimed to have been a retired lieutenant colonel in the Special Forces, a veteran of the Vietnam War, a recipient of the Silver Star, and a participant in Operation Eagle Claw. However, his official military record indicated that he served only 44 days in the U.S. Army from May to June 1976, being administratively separated from the service.[6]

Around the time the New York Times was developing a story about Cafasso he sent the newspaper an email claiming that his leaving Fox News was tantamount to "political assassination by a group of self-centered individuals with their own political agendas."[9]

Cafasso appeared briefly in Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism, the 2004 documentary film that made the argument that Fox News had a right-wing bias. In it he delivers a short comment on decision-making at the network, comparing it to what he calls the "Christian fundamentalist movement."[10]

In an interview published in a companion book to the film, Cafasso hinted at seeing evidence of "right-wing religious extremism" at the network, and claimed that Fox vice president and Washington, D.C. bureau chief Kim Hume once asked him whether he was "an angel."[11]

Religious activities[edit]

According to a 2007 article published in the Simpson County News, under the nickname "Jay," Cafasso was referenced as Director of Development for Mendenhall Ministries in Mendenhall, Mississippi, and was investigated by the local authorities who discovered that he had a long history of using many pseudonyms, claiming credentials he did not have, and claiming illness. In that article, Mendenhall Mayor Neely is quoted as saying that the last time he had seen him, Cafasso said he was going to St. Dominic's to have his gall bladder removed. The article concludes "It is suspected warrants exist for him under other names" and urges "anyone with information regarding this man" to contact the Simpson County Sheriff or a Mendenhall Police investigator.[12][13]

Arrests[edit]

Cafasso was arrested January 21, 2009 in Porter County, Indiana on a failure to appear warrant. He had previously been arrested in Porter County in the fall of 2008 for speeding, driving with a suspended license, and giving false information to police and did not appear as scheduled to address those charges.[14][15][16] The alias he had been using in Indiana was "Robert Stormer"; the authenticity of Stormer's identity had previously been challenged by a journalist in October 2007.[17] His other alleged aliases mentioned in news coverage are "Jay Mosca" and "Gerry Blackwood" and the Internet handle "Shipdude," allegedly used on dating sites.[13]

At the time of his arrests, Cafasso had been living with a 63 year-old woman whom he had befriended under a false name via a dating site. According to her son, Cafasso defrauded her of her life savings.[18] After Cafasso's January arrest, convicted criminal Jack Idema, who spoke as a consultant on one occasion for a local Fox News affiliate, attempted to obtain a laptop computer that had been used by Cafasso from the woman he had been living with. She turned it over to police.[19][20] The social security number Cafasso gave police at the time of his arrest in the fall belonged to a 13-year-old girl living in Rhode Island. Cafasso also reportedly told the arresting officer that he was hiding from the CIA and the FBI.[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rutenberg, Jim. "At Fox News, the Colonel Who Wasn't", The New York Times, April 29, 2002. Accessed November 29, 2007. " Born in 1956, he graduated from Carteret High School in Carteret, N.J., military records show."
  2. ^ "Obituary: Giovanna Cafasso, Carteret, 82". ID: bru60116151 (Home News Tribune). August 14, 2006. 
  3. ^ "Associated Retired Aviation Professionals". 
  4. ^ "Why Don't the Media Uncover the Cover-Ups?". AIM Report, December 1998. Retrieved 2007-04-05. 
  5. ^ Cafasso, Joseph (November 23, 1998). "What happened to TWA Flight 800?". WorldNetDaily.com. 
  6. ^ a b c Rutenberg, Jim (April 29, 2002). "At Fox News, The Colonel Who Wasn't". The New York Times. 
  7. ^ Gilliam, Todd J. (May 9, 2000). "Buchanan secures Texas spot for Reform in presidential bid". The Dallas Morning News. "Joe Cafasso, the campaign worker who coordinated the statewide effort from an Irving hotel room, said he had expected to need 'body armor' when he arrived in Bush territory but found the Texans highly receptive." 
  8. ^ "Itemized Disbursements, Committee: Buchanan Reform, Inc.". Federal Election Commission. Retrieved 2007-04-05. 
  9. ^ "Fake war hero who outfoxed TV network terminated". The Age Online. May 2, 2002. Retrieved 2007-04-04. 
  10. ^ "Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism FULL TRANSCRIPT" (PDF). Carolina Productions. 
  11. ^ Kitty, Alexandra; Robert Greenwald (April 1, 2005). Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War On Journalism. The Disinformation Company. p. 251. 
  12. ^ Clara Aucoin, "Con Man Blows Mendenhall", Simpson County News, Thursday, April 19, 2007, Section A, page 14. Cafasso had previously used the nickname "Jay" Cafasso in connection with involvement with religious organizations'rescue operations following Hurricane Katrina.
  13. ^ a b Expert in many fields only an expert in cons by Andy Grimm, Post-Tribune of Northwest Indiana, March 1, 2009.
  14. ^ crimeTimes, The Northwest Indiana & Illinois Newspaper, Saturday, January 24, 2009.
  15. ^ FBI now investigating 'spy' arrested at Dunes, Post-Tribune of Northwest Indiana, February 20, 2009.
  16. ^ Traffic stop leads to big scam investigation, Chicago Breaking News (a service of the Chicago Tribune), February 7, 2009.
  17. ^ RPI Can’t Produce Claimed Ethan Allen Thesis, North Country Gazette, Friday, October 19, 2007: "Attempts to verify his military credentials were unsuccessful. When Paul Harral, editorial page of the Fort Worth Star Telegram was contacted and asked if he could verify Stormer’s credentials, he said he could not. He said he had requested them and would have them by “the end of the week”. However, as of Friday, no credentials had been produced."
  18. ^ Son says con man bilked his mother of savings, Post-Tribune of Northwest Indiana, March 1, 2009.
  19. ^ Woman learns beau is apparent con artist, crimeTimes, The Northwest Indiana & Illinois Newspaper, February 4, 2009. " A 63-year-old Tefft, Ind. woman, whose son lives in Chesterton, told Chesterton police on Monday a man she met through an online dating service claimed to be Robert Stormer, but really was Joe Cafasso, a con artist . . ."
  20. ^ Laptop may hold key to high-level scam, Post-Tribune of Northwest Indiana, February 7, 2009.
  21. ^ Joe Cafasso, aka Bob Stormer, in custody on FTA charge, Chesterton Tribune, 2/18/2009.

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