A pair of boots lies on the ground at the US consulate compound in Benghazi on September 13, 2012, following an attack on the building late on September 11 in which the US ambassador to Libya and three other US nationals were killed. Libya said it has made arrests and opened a probe into the attack, amid speculation that Al-Qaeda rather than a frenzied mob was to blame. (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON (TheBlaze/AP) — The State Department said Tuesday it never concluded that the consulate attack in Libya stemmed from protests over an American-made video ridiculing Islam, raising further questions about why the Obama administration used that explanation for more than a week after assailants killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.
The revelation came as new documents suggested internal disagreement over appropriate levels of security before the attack, which occurred on the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the U.S.
Briefing reporters ahead of a hotly anticipated congressional hearing Wednesday, State Department officials provided their most detailed rundown of how a peaceful day in Benghazi devolved into a sustained attack that involved multiple groups of men armed with weapons such as machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars over an expanse of more than a mile.
But asked about the administration’s initial – and since retracted – explanation linking the violence to protests over an anti-Muslim video circulating on the Internet, one official said, “That was not our conclusion.“ He called it a question for ”others” to answer, without specifying. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter, and provided no evidence that might suggest a case of spontaneous violence or angry protests that went too far.
This Sept. 27, 2012, file courtroom sketch shows Mark Basseley Youssef, right, talking with his attorney Steven Seiden in court.(photo credit: AP Photo/Mona Shafer Edwards)
The man of many aliases, Mark Basseley Youssef, due to face questioning about violating probation
October 10, 2012, 3:36 pm
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A California man with many aliases who was behind an anti-Muslim film that sparked violence in the Middle East is expected to be asked by a judge Wednesday whether he violated his probation for a 2010 bank fraud conviction.
Federal prosecutors said Mark Basseley Youssef, 55, had eight probation violations, including lying to his probation officer and using aliases. If Youssef denies those allegations, a judge will then likely schedule an evidentiary hearing.
Youssef has been in a federal detention center since Sept. 28 after he was arrested for the probation violations and deemed a flight risk by a magistrate judge.
He went into hiding after a 14-minute trailer for the movie “Innocence of Muslims” was posted on YouTube. Angry protests stoked by the film broke out in Egypt and Libya, and violence related to the film has spread, killing dozens. Enraged Muslims demanded punishment for Youssef, and a Pakistani cabinet minister has offered a $100,000 bounty to anyone who kills him.
Federal authorities have said Youssef isn’t behind bars because of the film or its content, which portrays Muhammad as a religious fraud, womanizer and pedophile. They said Youssef hasn’t been truthful about his identity, using different names after he was convicted in 2010 of bank fraud.
Youssef was sentenced to 21 months in prison. He was barred from using computers or the Internet for five years without approval from his probation officer, though prosecutors said none of the violations involved the Internet.
An email left for Youssef’s attorney, Steven Seiden, was not immediately returned Tuesday.
At least three names have been revealed to be associated with Youssef in the past several weeks. Court documents show Youssef legally changed his name from Nakoula Basseley Nakoula in 2002, but never told federal authorities, who used that as part of the probation violation case against him.
Youssef, an Egyptian-born Christian who’s now a US citizen, sought to obtain a passport in his new name but still had a California driver’s license as Nakoula, authorities said. Youssef used a third name, Sam Bacile, in association with the film.
Authorities said Youssef used more than a dozen aliases and opened about 60 bank accounts and had more than 600 credit and debit cards to conduct a check fraud scheme.
When he was identified as Nakoula after the movie trailer went viral, federal probation officials questioned him. He denied using the name Sam Bacile, which was listed on the YouTube account that posted the trailer, and said his role in the film was limited to writing the script.