Last Updated:December 22 @ 08:27 am

Feds identify anti-Muslim filmmaker

By Eileen Sullivan and Stephen Braun

WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal authorities identified a Southern California man who is on federal probation for financial crimes as the key figure behind an anti-Muslim film that has spawned mob violence against American embassies across the Mideast, a U.S. law enforcement official told The Associated Press on Thursday.

There was no sign of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, at his family's home Thursday in Cerritos outside Los Angeles, as details slowly began to emerge about his checkered past, his connections among southern California's right-wing Christian organizations and his central role in the production of the film.

Excerpts from the movie, which the filmmaker said was called "Innocence of Muslims," enraged Islamic protesters in Egypt, Libyaand Yemen over its portrayal of the prophet Muhammad.

Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed Thursday that the Justice Department had opened a criminal investigation into the deaths of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other diplomats killed during an attack on the American mission in Benghazi. It was not immediately clear whether authorities were focusing on Nakoula as part of that probe.

Much about the film remains a mystery, including who financed it. Several actors have come forward and claimed they were duped about their roles, and that incendiary language was dubbed over their lines.

The permit to shoot the film, normally a public document, is being withheld at the "request of federal authorities, who have cited public safety concerns," according to Ryan Alsop, assistant chief executive office for Los Angeles County. He did not elaborate. Such permits normally contain little more than logistical information.

Questions remained about whether Nakoula's filmmaking and Internet distribution activities might have violated his federal probation and send him back to prison.

Nakoula pleaded no contest in 2010 to federal bank fraud charges in California and was ordered to pay more than $790,000 in restitution. He was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison and ordered not to use computers, the Internet or online user or screen names for five years without approval from his probation officer. He is still on probation, according to court records.

The YouTube account under the username "Sam Bacile," which was used to publish excerpts of the provocative movie in July, was used again as recently as this week.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Administrative Office of the Courts, which oversees federal probation offices, and a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Los Angeles, which prosecuted Nakoula, declined Thursday to discuss his case. Under court rules, the government can ask a judge to send a convict back to prison if there is probable cause to show that probation conditions were violated.

"You don't have the same First Amendment or Fourth Amendment rights than when you're not on probation," said Jennifer Granick, a criminal defense lawyer who specializes in online crimes. "Until you're done with supervision, you don't have full rights. They can search you without a warrant."

The law enforcement official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because this official was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation, confirmed the AP's earlier reporting that Nakoula was connected to the persona of Sam Bacile, a figure who initially claimed to be the writer and director of the film. Bacile turned out to be a false identity, and the AP tracked a cellphone number used by Bacile to a home in Cerritos where it found Nakoula.

Sheriff's deputies were called to Nakoula's property overnight, though Los Angeles County sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said Nakoula was not in protective custody. He said county authorities were present because roughly two dozen reporters and film crews were waiting to interview Nakoula.

Nakoula told the AP that he is Coptic Christian.

An official of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Los Angeles said in a statement Thursday that the church's adherents had no involvement in the "inflammatory movie about the prophet of Islam." The official, identified as Bishop Serapion of the Coptic Orthodox of Los Angeles, said that "the producers of this movie should be responsible for their actions. The name of our blessed parishioners should not be associated with the efforts of individuals who have ulterior motives."

Egypt's Christian Coptic populace has long decried what they describe as a history of discrimination and occasional violence from the country's Muslim majority.

Coptic Christians belong to the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, the largest Christian church in Egypt.

Once a majority in Egypt, Coptic Christians now make up about 10 percent of the country's 85 million people. They are the largest Christian community in the Middle East. Many Egyptian Christians fled to the U.S. to escape what they say is religious discrimination in the majority Muslim nation.

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GOPUSA Editor's Note: GOPUSA believes that the embassy attacks were orchestrated by terrorists and are not the result of a poorly made anti-Muslim film, as US media continues to insist.

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Feds identify anti-Muslim filmmaker, 7.3 out of 10 based on 20 ratings





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32 Comments

  1. KAHR50Comment by KAHR50
    September 14, 2012 @ 8:42 am

    Boo Hoo, the wittle movie hurt their feewings.

    Grow up.

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    Rating: 4.4/5 (15 votes cast)
    • minutemanComment by minuteman
      September 14, 2012 @ 10:14 am

      BHO: “If I had a son, he’d look like Sam Bacile.”

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (5 votes cast)
    • CharlieComment by vietnamvet
      September 14, 2012 @ 1:50 pm

      BHO: If I had a son, he would look like the Muslim Brother(hood).

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (4 votes cast)
    • willyrhoComment by willyrho
      September 14, 2012 @ 3:21 pm

      If I had a son he would look like Frank Marshall Davis, my real Communist Father and my Porn Star Mother, Anne Dunham.

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (3 votes cast)
  2. agent007Comment by agent007
    September 14, 2012 @ 9:40 am

    DOJ strikes again. CRIMINAL charges for what? Going to hold this idiot responsible for the DEATHS of those people in Libya?
    Can anybody see the warped reasoning here, please?

    Not defending the **** that this person probably communicated in his movie, but it was likely covered by Free Speech rights.
    DOJ must be doing this only as part of the ‘deals’ between Obama and Lybia and Egypt.

    When other laws in this land are being clearly violated, this DOJ does not even vote present, but totally closes its eyes.
    But I digress.

    What the idiot film maker has done, can have a truely horrible effect on all Coptic Christians in the Islamic region:
    “Once a majority in Egypt, Coptic Christians now make up about 10 percent of the country’s 85 million people. They are the largest Christian community in the Middle East. Many Egyptian Christians fled to the U.S. to escape what they say is religious discrimination in the majority Muslim nation.”
    “Egypt’s Christian Coptic populace has long decried what they describe as a history of discrimination and occasional violence from the country’s Muslim majority.”

    In other words, once the word is out in Muslim country that a Coptic Christian was behind this movie, we can expect wide-spread violence against all of them in the region!
    This has the potential to turn into another massacre in the name of Islam

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    Rating: 4.8/5 (16 votes cast)
    • karen13Comment by karen13
      September 14, 2012 @ 10:59 am

      That is exactly what the DOJ wants to do in my opinion. Railroad someone to give Middle East a reason to do what they are going to do anyhow. Egyptian president tells us we have to find and punish the person responsible for the movie. Really? Yet again we kowtow to the Muslim Brotherhood? Maybe we should just sign the country over, that is where this is headed under this president. This truly disgusts me. DOJ is gonna kill two birds with one stone and Nakoula wrapped up in a neat little package. I am reminded of the administration’s leak of the Bin Laden execution. It amazes me that everyone in this country cannot see what O is doing. Sad, sad, sad.

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (11 votes cast)
    • bobvansComment by bobvans
      September 14, 2012 @ 1:22 pm

      for violating his probation. read the article more thoroughly.

      “He was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison and ordered not to use computers, the Internet or online user or screen names for five years without approval from his probation officer. He is still on probation, according to court records.”

      Has nothing to do with the film in question.

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (3 votes cast)
    • Mort_fComment by Mort_f
      September 14, 2012 @ 1:32 pm

      To bobvans:

      So what? And what sort of a probation is a muzzle?

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      Rating: 3.7/5 (3 votes cast)
    • lwessonComment by lwesson
      September 14, 2012 @ 1:33 pm

      If the film was about something, oh, lets say, pro-Obama or pro-Islam, the violation of probation, putting a film on the net, no big deal, like voter intimidation in the last election.

      I do wonder, if he used any reasoning that this poorly done production would get ill attention, per his probation. Not very smart.

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)
  3. joelinpdxComment by joelinpdx
    September 14, 2012 @ 10:33 am

    Yep, let’s investigate this movie and give the death penalty to its creator…meanwhile, we’ll continue to ignore Fast and Furious and the murder of Brian Terry.

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    Rating: 4.6/5 (10 votes cast)
  4. M WernerComment by M Werner
    September 14, 2012 @ 10:44 am

    This fraud loser also tried to throw Jews under the bus…by claiming he was an Israeli Jew and his film was financed by Jews.
    Let’s put the blame where this belongs – on this jerk (who knows WHO actually funded him???) and his enablers, like the “minister” in FLA.
    He knew exactly what he was doing…trying to start WWIII.
    Let’s hope cooler heads prevail.

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    Rating: 1.9/5 (15 votes cast)
    • agent007Comment by agent007
      September 14, 2012 @ 10:57 am

      Cooler heads? In those countries? Have you seen how easy it is to turn them into an angry mob? Have you read about the thousands of years of conflict in Arab/Islamic regions?

      This jerk, and yes, he deserves that term, is no more to blame than any US idiot in the past that has published anti-Christian documents/movies/art. This has always been protected under Free Speech, probably more so than I would have liked personally.

      This jerk however, did not kill anybody, nor did those who funded him. And no, it was not BUSH, nor Romney!

      Finally, your statement that he was trying to throw Jews under the bus is blatantly false. Nobody has heard a beep from the jerk, so there is no claim from him at all. The only insinuation was from the media, who thought that maybe they had uncovered the identity of this jerk.
      He turns out to be a Coptian Christian, that has now put in danger millions of Coptian Christians in Egypt and possibly other Islamic countries. His own church has denounced this movie and condemned this jerk.

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      Rating: 4.5/5 (13 votes cast)
    • niceladywithdogComment by niceladywithdog
      September 14, 2012 @ 4:15 pm

      Blame the filmmaker? Say what? That’s like blaming gun manufacturers for crimes committed by armed idiots.

      I’m trying to remember how many people were killed, how many embassies trashed, when my faith, Christianity, was offended by the artist behind “Piss Christ”. Not only were all Christians offended, but we got to help fund the ‘artist’ through our taxes. Did our president apologize? Why should he? We were told to suck it up and take it since the first amendment applies to everyone in this country.

      His Incompetence is simply keeping the buttered side up for himself. He has plans.

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)
  5. Mort_fComment by Mort_f
    September 14, 2012 @ 11:24 am

    Sorry, he is not a jerk. If it was a Coptic that produced this movie, it was his right and perhaps, even his duty, to illustrate the atrocities that muslims are committing, and not only against the Coptics in Egypt.

    Yes, he did not follow the party line, pushed by Obama and the MSM, that Islam is a religion of peace. Koombaya.

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    Rating: 4.8/5 (6 votes cast)
  6. noveldogComment by noveldog
    September 14, 2012 @ 11:32 am

    BULL! They were fighting last year, and the year before so what spawned those attacks? It is what they do. They love jihad. They love fighting and killing. It is what they do. They did it hundreds of years ago when there was no film. They will do it next year film or no film. They will always look for an excuse to kill all who do not belong to their cult….got it?

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    Rating: 5.0/5 (7 votes cast)
  7. DudleyComment by Dudley
    September 14, 2012 @ 11:42 am

    This article in a brit newspaper attempts to connect republican right-wing extremists, the Tea Party, and a Coptic Christian porn film producer to the violence in Libya.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/13/egypt-libya-hollywood-film
    Pleessaseeeee – the “religion of peace” is now responsible for the savage rape torture of our ambassador before his murder, according to a Lebanese newspaper. I will blame film producers (regardless of stupidity) when these people stop sawing off heads with a dull knife.

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    Rating: 5.0/5 (4 votes cast)
  8. LOL BennieComment by LOL Bennie
    September 14, 2012 @ 11:44 am

    Have any of you seen the film, I know I have not. I am not going to scream foul until I have. The media does not always accurately report on news items. Regardless, in our country what someone says and films they make are protected as freedom of speech. I certainly have seen what people call art, paintings, sculptures, films and books that I find truly offensive but that doesn’t give me the right to kill them.

    The murder of american citizens in Libya, including the ambassador was done by criminals and murderers. What their motivation was is irrelevant what is relevant is what they did not why they did it.

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    Rating: 4.8/5 (6 votes cast)
    • pistol packing mamaComment by txgoatlady
      September 14, 2012 @ 12:10 pm

      I have seen the trailer. Your kids could make a better film in your basement. It is ridiculously stupid and poorly done. Of course, these guys didn’t get government money like the so-called artist who gave us “Piss Christ.” Notice no Catholics killed anyone over that disgusting excuse for art.

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (4 votes cast)
    • BillzillaComment by Billzilla
      September 14, 2012 @ 1:32 pm

      I’ve watched about 90 seconds of the trailer and that was all I could stand, I know that I could have made a better movie here at home with my camcorder. The production values were so bad, that anyone involved in the making of this thing, should be barred from ever making another film, and that includes the “actors”, a term that I’m using quite loosely!

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
  9. LOL BennieComment by LOL Bennie
    September 14, 2012 @ 11:50 am

    If you are saying that religous or political differences is grounds for rioting and killing then this country would be as bloody as the middle east. Beliefs do not excuse actions that break the laws of society. Our country was built and founded on some basic principles that all men are equal and have some inalienable rights. All American citizens were given the same rights and that does not include killing people because I don’t like what you said or what you believe.

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    Rating: 5.0/5 (6 votes cast)
  10. agent007Comment by agent007
    September 14, 2012 @ 11:59 am

    M Werner,

    Have you nothing better to do than to award me single stars on all my posts LOL

    Trolling must be so much fun!

    Waiting to see how long it takes you to reward me with my star again on this one! LOL

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    Rating: 4.6/5 (10 votes cast)
    • lwessonComment by lwesson
      September 14, 2012 @ 12:29 pm

      oo7: Sometime back, a person on GOPUSA indicated that he believed that The LEFT pays people to write comments. Interesting.

      I have seen and battled people who pretend to be conservative, those who get in to tell us how to behave… . They come and go, winking out of existence like sub atomic Bozon, Quark.. particles. Call them, agent provocateurs. They might even just switch names… .

      These individuals do tend to look at the better commentators, the ones capable of making thought provoking observations, and jump in to try to discredit them, usually in, agrumentum ad hominem, attacks, as they do not wish to apply facts, or reasons… in a debate. The personal attacks swing from name calling to questions of intelligence, sometimes punctuated with the all important, “I am a Conservative…bla bla bla.”

      Just a hunch, but if Obama is really going down in flames, the agent provocateurs will go more insanely viral. Cheers, oo7

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    • agent007Comment by agent007
      September 14, 2012 @ 12:37 pm

      Hi lwesson!

      I agree with you, I strongly suspect that part of the Obama re-election strategy is to send people to sites like GOPUSA to try to divide us against each other.

      Some others have nothing better to do, while they are in their Occupy tents with their iPhones.

      You’re right to expect more of the hatred spewing nonsense uttering Democrat trolls here once the polls climb further towards a Romney advantage.

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  11. pistol packing mamaComment by txgoatlady
    September 14, 2012 @ 12:08 pm

    At first I was annoyed that the Feds were spending their time investigating this, but there could be some merit. The embassy attacks were very obviously planned well in advance and information indicates that they had more to do with the anniversary of 9/11 and the drone killing of an Al Quaida leader than any silly film. The film was simply a tool to inflame the populace and provide a convenient scapegoat while they implemented a plan that was already in works.

    An investigation of the film’s production may uncover a Muslim connection. The thing is so poorly done and was completely unheard of before the attacks. It is very possible that this man has Muslim ties as opposed to Christian or Jewish ties and used this film to make Christians and Jews look bad and give the crazed Muslims something to rally around. Follow the money.

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    • lwessonComment by lwesson
      September 14, 2012 @ 12:41 pm

      Most unfortunately, it is the so called “Justice Department” doing the looking, and any 1984–ish, smack down… .

      IF, there are Muslim connections, will we get to know? Doubt it.

      Watching the film, with popcorn, it struck me that it resembled something that kids with a camera, some props, the understanding of how to use a greenscreen would come up with, directing willing adults, like their parents. I had just watched on You Tube something like this per very young kids directing and writing using adults. Funny! No, forgot the name of it.

      Very unflattering films about Christ, artwork… have been paraded out with pride… . What is irritating, is that this poorly done film is the best that is out there? Surely a professional film could be made.

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (3 votes cast)
  12. mcoryComment by mcory
    September 14, 2012 @ 1:04 pm

    The people, other than the terrorists, responsible for the attacks and the deaths at our embassies are Obama and Hillary. Obama for not going to 47% of his security briefings and Hillary for having a fantasy view of the Middle East.

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  13. BillzillaComment by Billzilla
    September 14, 2012 @ 2:26 pm

    “There was no sign of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, at his family’s home Thursday in Cerritos outside Los Angeles, as details slowly began to emerge about his checkered past, his connections among southern California’s right-wing Christian organizations and his central role in the production of the film.”

    Revealing isn’t it; the way that AP “reporters” Eileen Sullivan and Stephen Braun, try to tie the “filmmaker” to “California’s RIGHT-WING CHRISTIAN ORGANIZATIONS”. As if they were somehow willing accomplices in some kind of anti-Muslim biased film, and therefore bigots, and not to be taken seriously!

    Anything, I suppose to take attention away from the fact, that their boy Obama, has been derelict in his duties as President. Witness the failure to attend numerous daily White House briefings. To perhaps play golf, campaign, or fund raise? The failure to take security at our overseas embassies and consulates seriously. The failure to realize that the anniversary of 9/11 should be a time for heightened security, and that should just be plain commonsense. The belief that if we make nice to the various thugs around the world, that they’ll be nice to us. The belief that if we apologize for our past “injustices” to the world, we’ll be better liked. The belief that if we unilaterally disarm, others will emulate us. In fact the list of Obama’s failures is quite lengthy, and the naivete of Obama is stunning! And to make it even worse is the fact that; when things go wrong, as they often will, he takes no personal responsibility, but blames others!

    With the failure of the media to accurately reflect the failures of the Obama presidency, his followers have been deliberately blinded to the truth, though many are willfully blind.

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  14. tncdelComment by tncdel
    September 14, 2012 @ 2:38 pm

    Any film about Islam SHOULD be anti-Islamic. Other than a Muslim, only a complete idiot or someone suicidal would be pro-Islam, since it commands ALL Muslims [not some or a few of them] to kill, oppress and annihilate all who refuse to believe as they do.

    See:
    http://youtube.googleapis.com/v/Ib9rofXQl6w&hl=en_US&fs=1&

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  15. braines57Comment by braines57
    September 14, 2012 @ 3:48 pm

    How can anyone take this “movie” seriously as the “cause” for the violence? Seriously – anyone with a 3rd grade education and a cell phone can upload some sort of self-made video to YouTube and have it available for anyone anywhere to view. Over the years, there have been many books published and videos made which decry the sordid and violent nature of Islam, so why would anyone with half a brain believe that this inferior piece of internet garbage had such a serious impact? Can we say Wag the Dog II? Just one more reason to make November 6, 2012 National Empty the Chair Day!

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  16. thecitizenComment by thecitizen
    September 14, 2012 @ 3:55 pm

    Nonsense!

    Whatever’s happening in Libya and Egypt has nothing at all to do with some film saying bad-bad things about about their ‘Profit’.

    This whole thing is about the power and ‘profit’ mongering Islamist thumbing their noses at the USA, to an international audience, on the anniversary of 09/11.

    So what does our Muslim in Chief do? Does he send in the Marines to secure the US Embassies and rescue those Americans still trapped and under fire? No no, of course not! Instead, to an international audience, on the anniversary of 09/11 and speaking for the USA he – apologizes – to these Islamist instigators, terrorists and murderers!

    Islamists everywhere are probably dancing in the streets while other nations and governments are probably rolling their eyes and shaking their heads in utter bewilderment.

    It’s embarrassing. HE’S embarrassing!

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  17. nmleonComment by nmleon
    September 14, 2012 @ 4:08 pm

    The rioters just coincidentally decide to start their actions on 9/11 supposedly protesting a movie trailer that has been out for 6 months.

    State had credible intelligence that an attack was planned 48 hrs in advance and didn’t put their embassies and consulates on restricted movement or lock-down, even on 9/11.

    Marine embassy guards at two of the hottest spots in the world are left without ammo.

    DOJ investigates an Egyptian immigrant who may have had something do do with making or publishing the trailer 6 months ago.

    Why am I not surprised.

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  18. bizzybuzzerComment by bizzybuzzer
    September 14, 2012 @ 6:53 pm

    I agree with those who say the film has nothing to do with anything but the fact that some idiot made it.

    The morons claim (if they did) that they did what they did because of the film. Have you seen the videos on the Internet of them cutting peoples heads off or driving a car over a 6 years old boys arm because he stole a loaf of bread? Did you see them rioting themselves ?

    Our President is a Muslim, which just gives us more first hand verification on their reasoning power.

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