Wiki: Peter Videnieks

Peter Videnieks is a Commissioner with the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission. He was recently reappointed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for a second two-year term expiring December 31, 2010.

Prior to his appointment, Videnieks served on the staff of Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV).


Videnieks' wife, Barbara Videnieks, also served on Senator Byrd's staff. During the early-1990s, she was Chief of Staff. On the evening of August 9, 1991, freelance writer Danny Casolaro intended to meet in Martinsburg, West Virginia, with two employees of Senator Byrd's staff. Barbara Videnieks was believed to be related to one of Casolaro's contacts.

Shortly before noon, the following day, Casolaro was found dead in his hotel bathtub, the apparent victim of a suspicious suicide. Casolaro had been researching material for Inslaw Inc. and that material had centered on Inslaw's arguments in a very contentious bankruptcy liquidation case against the United States Department of Justice.


Videnieks was the Contract Officer who oversaw Inslaw Inc.'s Promis contract for the Management Division of the United States Department of Justice. Prior to joining the DoJ, Videnieks had administered three contracts between the Customs Service and Hadron Inc. Hadron was a competitor to Inslaw, and was under the direction of controlling shareholder, Earl Brian, the former California health secretary under Gov. Ronald Reagan from 1971-3.

At the time of Inslaw's contracts with Justice, Brian had become a venture-capitalist with a suspected connection to Director of Central Intelligence William J. Casey's covert intelligence operations. During investigations surrounding the Inslaw Affair, Brian was accused of receiving a stolen copy of Inslaw's Promis software from Videnieks.

In a court affidavit filed on March 21, 1991, by Michael Riconosciuto, on behalf of Inslaw's case, Riconosciuto claimed that "the Justice Department stole the Promis software as part of a payoff to Brian for helping to get some Iranian leaders to collude in the so-called October surprise." Moreover, Riconosciuto named both Brian and Videnieks as being "among the frequent visitors" to the Cabazon Indian Reservation in Indio, California, where the Cabazon Band of Indians had formed a joint venture with the Wackenhut Corporation of Coral Gables, Florida, to developed and market munitions "to support the needs of a number of foreign governments and forces, including forces and governments in Central America and the Middle East." By the early-1990s, the joint venture was rumored to be a California extension of the Iranian and Nicaraguan policy objectives of President Ronald Reagan's White House staff, more commonly known as the Iran Contra Affair.

Riconosciuto was a shady character with equally as shady contacts in black ops, according to the Executive Summary of the House Judiciary Investigation on Inslaw. He claimed to have been directed by Brian to reprogram Inslaw's software sometime between 1983–84 so that it could be sold to dozens of foreign governments with a secret "back door" which allowed outsiders to track individuals using the Promis software. Riconosciuto further claimed that Videnieks in a telephone conversation prior to Riconosciuto's filing of his affidavit threatened Riconosciuto's family with DoJ reprisals if Riconosciuto divulged any of this information in his initial interviews with House Judiciary investigators. Eight days after he filed his affidavit, Riconosciuto was arrested on serious drug charges, then later convicted, and sentenced to 30 years in federal prison. Soon afterwards, Riconosciuto's wife was arrested on child custody charges; she eventually lost custody of their children. During Riconosciuto's Tacoma, Washington, trial in which Riconosciuto claimed that he had been "set up" by the government on fraudulent drug charges, Videnieks denied ever having known Riconosciuto.

To this day, there has never been any reliable or conclusive documentation in support of Riconosciuto's allegations. Riconosciuto claimed to have made three tape recordings of their telephone conversation; however no tapes to corrobrate Riconosciuto's claims have ever surfaced. Additionally, in House Judiciary investigations into the Inslaw Affair both Brian and Videnieks "denied under oath even knowing each other" though the House Judiciary investigating committee received information from Margaret Wiencek and John Schoolmeester in apparent contradiction to both Brian and Videnieks.


Videnieks has been an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) revenue officer. (One of two Enterprise Computing Centers for the IRS is located in Martinsburg, West Virginia.)..


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