A left-wing operative at the center of the "Dry Alabama" social-media scam, which might have decided the Doug Jones-Roy Moore U.S. Senate race, contacted me in October 2017 and indicated he was tied to the Jones campaign and had knowledge of what we now know were underhanded tactics on Jones' behalf.
Matt Osborne, a writer, researcher and would-be consultant from Florence, AL, contacted me via Facebook private message on Oct. 27 -- roughly six weeks before the special election, which Jones won by about 22,000 votes. What can we learn from this? I take away two key points:
(1) Osborne's words in the Facebook message -- plus his location in Alabama -- make it highly likely Doug Jones knew about the sleazy tactics being used on his behalf. That means Jones' claims to have been unaware almost certainly are false.
(2) Osborne suggested a Legal Schnauzer post about the use of Russian bots to produce a cyber attack on Roy Moore's campaign Twitter account was inaccurate and should be retracted. When asked for specifics about possible inaccuracies, Osborne went into hyper-secret mode and never provided information to support his claims. We now know the Russian-bot attack, in fact, happened -- and left-wing activists, apparently aligned with Osborne, launched it. I take that to mean Osborne lied to me about the alleged need to retract the bot story -- and his quick entry into top-secret mode suggests he was involved in nefarious campaign tactics at the time.
Matt: You should retract that entire blog post about the Russian bots. Direct knowledge.
Roger: In what capacity have you been around the Jones campaign? And where does your direct knowledge come from?
Matt: Not going to say in this format. Are you on Signal?
Roger: Nope, not on Signal.
Matt: Got a smart phone?
Roger: No, I don't have a smart phone. Almost everything we owned has been stolen, so a smart phone isn't a high priority.
Osborn then asked -- late in the game -- if the conversation was off the record. I did not agree to that, so I am publishing it now, in light of The New York Times report about Osborn's involvement in the Dry Alabama project.
The conversation ended when Osborn, without explanation, sent me the following link:
password: BRnrMLUAnknfD0L+7V4byKsy1PenoZOvJ3oWkvgDAf/gqfDOEJCfXFibOvFoSUH1 Link: https://cryptobin.co/c3p3c8n1
I had no idea what it was,and I really wasn't interested, so I did not click on it. I had not heard from Matt Osborne since then until the following comment arrived at Legal Schnauzer late Monday, on a post dated Dec. 27, 2018:
Mon, Jan 7, 11:17 PM (13 hours ago)
Matt Osborne has left a new comment on your post "Stories of election meddling involving Jill Stein,...":
This is hilarious, Roger. [Jill] Simpson is leading you right over a cliff again. Jill Stein and Doug Jones are conspiring to do what now?
I was told tonight that you've been yapping about me on Facebook. I can't wait to see what sort of nonsense you contrive to blog about me.
Given the comment's utter lack of meaningful content, I did not publish it. But I'm publishing it now, with the idea that it might provide some insight into Osborne's mindset after making The New York Times for his involvement in electoral skulduggery.
To me, Osborne sounds like a guy who knows he has stepped in thick, gooey, smelly doo-doo -- and is not sure how he's going to get it off his shoes.