As Allen scanned his postings on Free Republic, she noticed that Beckwith repeated several phrases that also surface in the e-mail. Beckwith called Obama “an apostate Muslim, educated in madrassas.” And when Beckwith later repudiated the “madrassa” claim — after it was debunked by the mainstream media — the term disappeared from subsequent versions of the chain e-mail. The Post located Beckwith in a Boston suburb, and he agreed to be interviewed under the condition that he not be identified because “I get a lot of really nutty stuff and some of it’s threatening.” The 69-year-old said he is retired as a software engineer and lives alone, but for brief stints babysitting for his grandchildren. He said he started a Web site in 2005 “because I don’t play golf.” His initial goal was to take swats at the liberal left. “Then this new guy comes along called Obama,” he said… “What I’ve come to realize is, the labor of generating an e-mail smear is divided and distributed amongst parties whose identities are secret even to each other,” she says. A first group of people published articles that created the basis for the attack. A second group recirculated the claims from those articles without ever having been asked to do so. “No one coordinates the roles,” Allen said. Instead the participants swim toward their goal like a school of fish — moving on their own, but also in unison.