Questions arise about 'Sam Bacile'

Sept. 12, 2012 at 7:05 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- The producer of a film blamed for inciting protests at U.S. State Department posts in Africa may not be who he claims he is, a consultant to the film said.

The Atlantic -- a news and opinion magazine based in Washington -- reported Wednesday the consultant, Sam Klein of Riverside, Calif., said he does not know much about Sam Bacile, identified in media accounts as the filmmaker behind "The Innocence of Muslims."

The Wall Street Journal quoted Bacile as saying he raised $5 million from 100 Jewish donors to produce the film, which depicts the Prophet Muhammad as a homosexual of undetermined parentage who advocated child slavery and extramarital sex, for himself, in the name of religion.

A trailer for the film, posted online, is being cited as a provocation for protesters' attacks Tuesday on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, where U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith and two other Americans were killed.

U.S. officials said Wednesday there is evidence the attack in Benghazi was premeditated and organized.

Bacile has been described as an Israeli-American who worked in real estate in California. He has been unavailable for media inquiries and there have been reports he is in hiding.

Klein told The Atlantic Bacile is not Israeli, is most likely not Jewish, and is actually using "Sam Bacile" as a pseudonym.

"I don't know that much about him," Klein was quoted as saying. "I met him, I spoke to him for an hour. He's not Israeli, no."

Klein, who said he is an expert on locating al-Qaida cells in California, said Bacile contacted him for help in making the film because the "Middle East Christian and Jewish communities trust me."

He said about 15 people had a hand in getting the film made -- all of them "active American" citizens.

"They're from Syria, Turkey, Pakistan, they're some that are from Egypt," he said. "Some are Copts but the vast majority are Evangelical."

President Barack Obama said Wednesday "justice will be done" in the deaths of the four Americans and dispatched U.S. Marines to Libya to bolster security.

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