Michael Riconosciuto is an electronics and computer expert who was convicted on seven drug-related charges in early 1992. Riconosciuto professed a defense centered on the Inslaw Affair (a legal case in which the U.S. Government was charged with illegal use of computer software). Riconosciuto claimed to have reprogrammed Inslaw's case-management program (Promis) with a secret "back-door" to allow clandestine tracking of individuals. Riconosciuto stated that he had been threatened by a justice department official. Riconosciuto provided an Affidavit detailing threats to a House Select Committee investigating the Inslaw Affair.
 Early background
Details of Riconosciuto's early life are uncertain.
Riconoscuito has demonstrated some technical and scientific talents. According to an article originally published in the Village Voice:
Riconoscuito was a gifted child: When he was just 10 years old, Michael wired his parents' neighborhood with a working private telephone system that undercut Ma Bell; in the eighth grade, he won a science fair with a model for a three-dimensional sonar system. By the time he was a teenager, he had won so many science fairs with exhibits of laser technology that he was invited to be a summer research assistant at Stanford University's prestigious Cooper Vapor Laser Laboratory. Dr. Arthur Schalow [sic], a Nobel laureate, remembers him — "You don't forget a 16-year-old youngster who shows up with his own argon laser."—Ridgeway and Vaughan, "The Last Days of Danny Casolaro"
Riconosciuto was employed as an engineer at a mine in Maricopa, California. Hercules Properties, Ltd. had raised financing and purchased a 167-acre (0.68 km2) contaminated waste-disposal site which had once been a portion of a 1,300-acre (5.3 km2) TNT and fertilizer manufacturer known as Hercules Powder Works, and which was located along San Pablo Bay in Contra Costa County, California. ("The community of Hercules, named for the factory, is still recognized by its rusting tanks and smoke stacks.")
Riconosciuto has stated that he has knowledge of the October Surprise;
Nathan Baca's Emmy winning series "The Octopus Murders" featured documents from the archives of Michael Riconosciuto.  These documents have been the subject of interest for recently reopened cold case homicide investigations. 
On March 21, 1991, Riconosciuto filed an affidavit before a House judiciary committee investigating the bankruptcy case of Inslaw Inc. v. United States Government. Riconosciuto was under suspicion at the time for illegally modifying a people-tracking, case-management, software program that had been developed for the Department of Justice by Washington, D.C.-based Inslaw Inc.. Riconosciuto declared that he had been under the direction of Earl Brian, who was then a controlling shareholder and director of Hadron, Inc..
Riconosciuto further declared that Peter Videnieks, the contract manager overseeing the Inslaw contract for the management division of the DoJ, had stolen the Promis software and had given it to Earl Brian who "spearheaded" a plan for the "implementation of Promis in law enforcement and intelligence agencies worldwide."
Riconosciuto claimed that Videnieks during a telephone conversation threatened Riconosciuto with DoJ reprisals if Riconosciuto should testify before the House Investigating Committee. According to Riconosciuto's claims, Videnieks said that there would be indictments brought against Riconosciuto and his father in connection with a criminal operation of a savings and loan institution in California; furthermore, Riconosciuto's wife would immediately lose a long and protracted child custody case against her former husband; and lastly, Riconosciuto would be prosecuted for perjury. Riconosciuto claimed to have made a tape recording of that conversation.
Within eight days of this declaration, Riconosciuto was arrested for conspiracy to manufacture, conspiracy to distribute, possession with intent to distribute, and with distribution—a total of ten counts related to methamphetamine and methadone.
During his trial, Riconosciuto accused the Drug Enforcement Agency of stealing two copies of his tape. Then later he claimed a third was tossed by him into a Washington State swamp.
In addition to his claims of a government "frame up" related to Inslaw, Riconosciuto maintained that the chemical laboratory on his property was in use for the extraction of precious metals such as platinum in a highly-specialized mining operation.
- Associated Press (1992-01-19). "Jury Says Guilty -- Man Claims Frame-Up But Faces 20-Year Term After Verdict On Seven Drug-Related". Seattle Times Company. Retrieved 2008-09-02.
- Smith, Carlton (1991-08-29). "Worldwide Conspiracy, Or Fantasy? -- Felon's Story Checks Out - Kind Of". Seattle Times Company. Retrieved 2008-09-02.
- Associated Press (1992-01-02). "Defendant Says Government Drug Charges Are Part Of Vendetta". Seattle Times Company. Retrieved 2008-09-02.
- Case No. 85-00070, affidavit: Michael J. Riconosciuto, March 21, 1991
- Richardson, Elliot L. (1991-10-21). "A High-Tech Watergate". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-09-05.
- Ridgeway, James; Vaughan, Doug (1991-10-15). "The Last Days of Danny Casolaro". Paranormalnews. com. Retrieved 2008-09-02.(excerpts of an article originally published in The Village Voice)
- Grabbe, J. Orlin (2001-11-01). "When Osama Bin Laden Was Tim Osman". The Laissez Faire City Times, Vol 5, No 46. Archived from the original on 2008-03-20. Retrieved 2008-09-08.
- State of California, Department of Toxic Substances Control (2005). "Brownfield Revitalization: Hercules Powder Works" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-12-30.
- "Dynamic Hercules". Archived from the original on 2008-06-01. Retrieved 2008-09-19.
- Fricker, Richard L. (1993). "The INSLAW Octopus". Wired magazine. pp. 1–8. Retrieved 2008-10-02. (see: subsection "Earl W. Brian - The Consummate Insider: What a Surprise", p. 8)
- "Nathan Baca, KESQ.com".
- Nathan Baca (7/31/2009). "Part 31: Secret Government Program Linked to Local Murders". ABC News Channel 3, KESQ.
- "Suspect Arrested in Triple Murder Had Been Given Immunity". NBC Los Angeles. 2009-06-11.
- "Archive page, Cabazon Arms".
- Harry V. Martin (November 17, 1992). "It Happened Right Here! – Wife of key witness in Justice scandal - INSLAW case - is arrested in Napa". Napa Sentinel 8 (547).
- Committee on the Judiciary (1992-09-10). "House Report 102-857:THE INSLAW AFFAIR, Investigative Report". Retrieved 2008-08-22.
- http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/1.01/inslaw.html Fricker, in Wired, 1993, p. 3. "... Hadron, Inc., a company controlled by [Edwin] Meese [US Att. Gen. 1985-88] and Reagan-crony Earl Brian."
- Colhoun, Jack (1999-10-14). "Israeli Spy Cover-up Crumbles". The Consortiumnews.com. Retrieved 2009-02-15.
- Lee, Gary (1991-03-31). "Key Witness in Justice Dept. Software Case Jailed". The Washington Post. pp. A13 ($fee). Retrieved 2008-09-04.
- "Case of backwoods lab: Was it mining or 'meth'?". The Morning News Tribune. 1991-03-15. Retrieved 2009-12-02.
 Further reading
- O'Meara, Kelly Patricia (2001-01-29). "Nothing is Secret, (Part I)". Insight magazine. Retrieved 2008-08-27.—The Plot Thickens in PROMIS Affair (Part II) — PROMIS Trail Leads to Justice , (Part III) — PROMIS Spins Web of Intrigue , (Part IV)