Alabama’s attorney general is reportedly starting to scrutinize a disinformation campaign that targeted GOP Senate candidate Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreSessions goes after Tuberville’s coaching record in challenging him to debate The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip Sessions fires back at Trump over recusal: ‘I did my duty & you’re damn fortunate I did” MORE in last year’s special election.
Steve Marshall told The Washington Post on Thursday that he is in the process of collecting information about the disinformation campaign called “Project Birmingham,” which he says possibly could have affected Moore’s tight race against Doug Jones, his Democratic opponent who ultimately won the election.
“The information is concerning,” Marshall told the Post. “The impact it had on the election is something that’s significant for us to explore, and we’ll go from there.”
While Marshall, a Republican, voiced concern to the newspaper that the disinformation campaign may have violated state campaign laws, he did not go so far as to say he has formally launched a probe into the matter.
“We’re planning to explore the issue further,” Marshall continued.
He also pointed to the growing challenges that will arise as a result of new technology colliding with current laws.
Jones, now a U.S. senator, has appealed to federal authorities to investigate whether there are similarities between the disinformation tactics used by the Russians in the 2016 presidential election and those used in his Senate race.
His call for a federal probe comes after The New York Times reported that New Knowledge, a cybersecurity research firm, experimented with using social media posts that spread disinformation in the Alabama Senate race that aimed to convince voters not to back Moore — whose campaign was dogged by allegations of sexual misconduct.
This is the same digital research firm that helped the Senate Intelligence Committee prepare a report earlier this month that was focused on Russia’s own influence operations.
Notably, Facebook suspended Jonathon Morgan, an executive at the firm, for his role in the Project Birmingham.
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During the course of the 2017 campaign, a handful of women came forward and accused Moore of pursuing relationships with them while they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. One woman says she was 14 years old when Moore touched her sexually. Moore has denied wrongdoing.