Immediately after the attacks on U.S. embassies in Libya and Egypt, details emerged about who made the film that sparked the violence. Now reporters say it appears most of that information isn't true.
In the first hours after the attacks, Digital Journal reported on much of the information that had been gathered about the filmmaker who claimed to be responsible for the movie "Innocence of Muslims." The information pointed to a man going by the name of Sam Bacile, who claimed to be an Israeli Jew, who was working in California in real estate. He claimed to have the financial backing from "100 Jews." But author Max Blumenthal, who has written extensively about anti-Islamic groups tells the Los Angeles Times, "No one uses that kind of rhetoric unless they are extremely unfamiliar with the culture of the Jewish community and how protective they are against anti-Semitic attacks. What he has done is play into an anti-Semitic fantasy."
New evidence now suggests that had all been made up by the filmmaker who was trying to hide his own identity.
Businessweek reports the actual filmmaker used a pseudonym because he fears for his life, according to another man who says he was a consultant on the movie. Steve Klein, a Southern California self-described Christian extremist, says he helped the filmmaker find actors for the film, adding, “This guy’s terrified. He’s gone underground.”
Businessweek says Klein has told them, the man calling himself Bacile, is actually a Christian refugee from the Middle East outside Israel. The report says a check of the California Department of Real Estate has found no one named Bacile registered as a licensed real estate broker or salesman in the state. And it says Israel hasn't been able to find any record of a citizen matching Bacile's description.
The Atlantic has come up with similar information. A reporter also spoke with Klein, who says Bacile is not Israeli, and most likely not Jewish, and that the name is, in fact, a pseudonym. "I don't know that much about him. I met him, I spoke to him for an hour. He's not Israeli, no. I can tell you this for sure, the State of Israel is not involved, Terry Jones (a radical Christian who has burned the Quran in the past) is not involved. His name is a pseudonym. All these Middle Eastern folks I work with have pseudonyms. I doubt he's Jewish. I would suspect this is a disinformation campaign."
The Associated Press reports a man by the name of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, was manager for the company that produced "Innocence of Muslims." He denies he directed the film and says he knows the filmmaker, Sam Bacile. But the cell phone number that AP used to contact Sam Bacile on Tuesday is traced to the same Los Angeles area address where AP found Nakoula. Federal court papers say Nakoula has several alias, one of them is Nicola Bacily. But Nakoula denies he was posing as Bacile.
Nakoula told AP that he is a Coptic Christian and said the film's director supported the concerns of Christian Copts about their treatment by Muslims.
In the meantime, actors in the film have issued a joint statement saying they were misled about the film, and claim some of their dialogue was dubbed in post-production. "We are 100% not behind this film and were grossly misled about its intent and purpose.... We are deeply saddened by the tragedies that have occurred." The Los Angeles Times says a crew member claims the cast and crew were told the film was going to be a war drama called "Desert Warrior." In an email to The Times, he says, "The original actors said one word, and then the producer and editing team (whom I don't know) dubbed." "It's unmistakable that most dubbed portions are a different voice than the original actor."