After seeing Matt Osborne’s name in the NYT’s article about the Alabama Dry fake Russian bot scam, I did some digging into the background of the story. I turned up some intriguing reporting on the subject.
Some of these dots are connected and some aren’t.
Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn and Microsoft gave $750k to an organization called American Engagement Technologies. American Engagement Technologies provided $100k of funding to New Technologies, an Austin, Texas, based cybersecurity company, for something called the “Alabama Experiment.”
When reporting first broke in late December on the use of fake Russian bots in the Alabama special senatorial election, New Technologies put up a blog post denying that their activities had any connection with any black operation. Jonathan Morgan, the CEO of New Knowledge, is associated with a group called Data for Democracy, a “collective effort” about “how data and technology can be used for good” to “shape a better future and make positive changes in communities around the globe.” Ryan Fox, the COO of New Knowledge, has 15 years experience at the National Security Agency, including working as the NSA Representative to European SIGINT Partners.
Subsequent reporting seems to contradict some of the New Knowledge blog post.
Other individuals apparently associated with the disinformation campaign include former Obama campaign organizer Mikey Dickerson and Evan Coren, a progressive activist who works with the National Archives.
This may merit further research.