LOS ANGELES (AP) — In a Sept. 12 story about a film that sparked deadly protests in Libya and Egypt, The Associated Press quoted a man who identified himself in several phone conversations as Sam Bacile, and who said he wrote and directed the film. The AP story quoted him saying he was an Israeli Jew.
In later reporting, the AP was unable to find any public records confirming the existence of a person with that name.
The AP subsequently reported that Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was the key figure behind the film. Federal authorities confirmed that finding. A federal law enforcement official told The Associated Press on Thursday that authorities had connected Nakoula to the man using the pseudonym of Sam Bacile. Federal court papers filed against Nakoula in a 2010 criminal prosecution noted that Nakoula had used numerous aliases, including Nicola Bacily and Robert Bacily. Nakoula told the AP on Wednesday that he is a Coptic Christian.
The person claiming to be Bacile said in his conversation with the AP that the film was financed with the help of more than 100 Jewish donors. According to Film L.A. Inc., which grants filming permits in Los Angeles County, the production company for the film was a Duarte, Calif.-based Christian group, Media for Christ. The president of that organization is a Christian from Egypt.