In fact, [the internet based Obama slurs] tend to be the work of committed political amateurs.I don't think amateur means what McClatchy thinks it does.
One practitioner in Virginia, who hates Obama like a dog hates cats, led a reporter through his efforts. Because the man is a retired clandestine CIA officer, identifying him could endanger officers or operations that remain classified, so McClatchy will not reveal his name.
In late 2006, convinced that an Obama presidency would be disastrous for America, he decided to start an anti-Obama operation. He combed the public record on Obama. He used a couple of allies and informants — half-jokingly dubbing his group "The Crusaders" — to learn about Obama's background, especially his Africa connection and how he came to be the editor of the Harvard Law Review.
He assembled a dossier on Obama, including allegations that Obama attended a madrassa, or Islamic religious school, in his youth in Indonesia.
Then the retired spook tried to get Israeli intelligence officials interested in his Obama dossier. They weren't, to his chagrin. He also shopped it to some foreign reporters. Again, no luck.
He wound up posting some of it on a blog — and where it went from there in the vast world of cyberspace is anybody's guess.
But a few months after the man began his work, the allegation that Obama was educated in a madrassa appeared in an anonymous article in Insight Magazine, an online publication of the Unification Church, in January 2007. It also claimed that Clinton operatives had dug up the information. The article was cited by several conservative commentators, including on Fox News, before it was debunked.