A notorious liberal media personality who claimed to be an employee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), has been exposed as a complete fraud.
Robert Caruso, who has touted himself as a national security expert and political consultant for the Hillary Clinton campaign, raised eyebrows yesterday when he seemed to threaten a lawyer who questioned the constitutionality of some of the government’s actions to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
“If you are not already obsessed with your Constitutional rights, this is a good time to become so,” wrote attorney Marc Randazza on Twitter. “They [government] make power grabs during times of crisis.”
“Power grabs… I can’t believe you have an Italian surname,” Caruso shot back. “There were thousands of people in bars this weekend. Who’s being oppressed? List them. Point them out.”
Randazza was having none of it: “Again, reading comprehension failure,” he tweeted. “You may have some incomprehensible reason for finding it difficult to believe I am Italian, but I am not at all surprised that you’re a government flunky.”
In his reply to the lawyer’s next tweet, Caruso, whose Twitter bio until recently indicated that he worked for the USDA, suggested that he would use his position there to starve those who criticize the government’s response to the pandemic.
“This is happening, whether you like it or not,” Caruso wrote. “There will be curfews, freedom of assembly restricted, and – boy, it was not wise to snap at me – if it gets really bad, food will be rationed. Take a wild guess which department would ration the food.”
When a Federalist reporter reached out to the USDA for comment, an agency spokesperson informed him that Caruso does not, in fact, work for them.
“The individual is not an employee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture,” the spokesperson said. “The account has been flagged for Twitter, and the user has already removed USDA as his employer on his profile. The U.S. supply chains remain strong and our food supply is abundant. Any reports of rationing are false.”
The thirty-something Caruso has a long history of inflating his resume, Deadspin reported in a lengthy and detailed profile in November of 2016.
Per his bio at the Guardian and elsewhere, Caruso shops himself as a Navy veteran who “served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense” and “in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security at the Department of State and as a contractor for the Department of the Army.”
These days he lists himself on LinkedIn as a “political consultant” and a “Fellow” with Hillary Clinton’s campaign. He’s a longtime and prolific member of natsec Twitter, well-liked and oft-cited by both “no-fly-zones-can-work” liberals and “let’s-nuke-China” conservatives. Since coming on the scene around 2013, he’s racked up press clips in Reuters, MSNBC, Fox News, Politico, the Boston Globe, BuzzFeed, Business Insider, the Daily Beast, and many more.
DeadSpin went on to note that the conman’s writings had recently “graced the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations website, the Atlantic’s Defense One.” He also “blogged regularly for The Huffington Post, zeroing in on the latest obsession of centrist hawks and armchair generals: the Russian bear and its supposed Manchurian Candidate, Trump himself.”
Alas, Caruso’s impressive credentials did not hold up under scrutiny.
“Several sources close to Caruso say they never heard of him holding a job that went beyond an administrative assistant,” Deadspin reported.
The Clinton campaign told me they have no record of Caruso ever working as a “fellow” for them. Caruso provided me a reference, an unpaid volunteer in Dade City, Florida, who could not confirm his status as a fellow. A field organizer in Florida said there was no record of him on file as a fellow, and that the position is an informal, unpaid, intern-like gig in any case.
Caruso’s first stop after the Navy, the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), told me they had no employee by that name on file. Caruso told me he worked for SIGAR as a contractor, which SIGAR later confirmed, but neither the Office of the Secretary of Defense nor the State Department would confirm that he worked for them. Caruso told me all his work for those departments was as a contractor—something he does not note in his media bios—and he refused to describe his work, provide any references, or name any companies he worked for, saying he was bound by nondisclosure agreements. Alternatively, he said he was refusing to provide references “because I feel like it.”
Two sources familiar with Caruso’s time in the Navy told Deadspin that he was a “’paper pusher’ who never saw combat, despite his remarks on Twitter about facing danger in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Gulf, and the Horn [of Africa].’”
Caruso also has a disturbing history of “bizarre and volatile” behavior, according to the report.
A messy breakup in fall of 2015 led his ex-girlfriend to file to a restraining order against him in Loudoun County, Va., which he violated at least six times this year, according to public court documents. Another onetime friend filed an emergency protective order in Alexandria, Va. Yet another person filed a restraining order—which I saw a copy of—this week, while another tells me they are filing a police report for harassment.
Deadspin goes on to describe many other instances of Caruso’s creepy stalking, threatening and harassing behavior, and points out that there are may other alleged “natsec tough guys” out there who are just as bad.
“… beyond that surface level bravado, Caruso is fluent in the language of natsec tough guys. Plenty of defense reporters will tell you that this crowd’s got a fair dose of paranoia running through their brain chemistry, often compensated by maniac swagger. Some of them end up totally losing the plot, like Caruso. Others stumble into more comedic personal humiliations, like ex-Naval War College and NSA ogre John Schindler, who shares Caruso’s penchant for spy-talk and Twitter bluster, and got in trouble for allegedly sending photos of his junk to young women.
Caruso removed the USDA link from his Twitter profile at some point on Tuesday, but his links to @DeptofDefense and @FederalReserve remain.