CORRECTION: A previous version of this story neglected to mention that Patrick Byrne is the former CEO of Overstock and not its current chief. Raw Story regrets the error.
A new report from VoteBeat claims that former Trump national security adviser Mike Flynn and his allies have interviewed more than 200 election officials across the United States to identify weaknesses in the system.
According to the report, Flynn and former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne have been conducting the interviews as part of a project called "Operation Eagles Wings," and the questions they're asking officials "reflect the same debunked conspiracies and misleading information about elections that Flynn and Byrne have been propagating for years."
Elections experts who spoke with VoteBeat claim that the responses to Flynn and Byrne's questions could be used to further fuel false conspiracy theories about voting in the United States.
“It seems consistent with their efforts to really understand how to manipulate the machinery of election administration in this country,” Ben Berwick, counsel at national nonprofit Protect Democracy, tells the publication.
Transcripts of interviews found by VoteBeat show that many elections officials were friendly in their interactions with representatives of Project Eagles Wings, but they also pushed back on false claims made by interviewers, such as when one interviewer insisted to election officials that dead people had voted in Harris County, Georgia.
Barry Burden, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin, tells VoteBeat that he is not surprised that officials are being asked loaded questions about letting dead people vote, as both Byrne and Flynn "don’t have a good record of being fact-based and practical."