officials have interviewed a California man believed to be the
maker of an anti-Islam film that has ignited a wave of protests in
the Muslim world, CNN reported Saturday.
The questioning came a day after officials said they were
reviewing the probation of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, convicted of
bank fraud in 2009 and placed on supervised probation for five
Officials consider Nakoula to be the filmmaker behind the
"Innocence of Muslims" film.
Steve Whitmore of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department told
CNN that federal officials interviewed Nakoula at the local
Whitmore dismissed reports that Nakoula had been arrested, and
said he was never in handcuffs and had left his house willingly to
Nakoula served a year in federal prison at Lompoc, California.
Since notice of the film spread through YouTube, Nakoula has been
out of public view.
Journalists have gathered at his home in Cerritos, California,
seeking information about his elusive background.
The movie, backed by anti-Islam groups in the US, is a low-budget
project that was ignored in the US when trailers were posted on
YouTube in July.
But after Egyptian TV aired certain segments, violent protests
erupted in Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, Morocco, Sudan, Iran, Iraq,
Israel and Palestinian territories.
A mob attacked the US consulate in Libya's Benghazi city, leading
to the death of the US ambassador and three other American men.
The FBI contacted the filmmaker because of the potential for
threats but he is not under investigation, a federal official told
When news of his movie first broke, he identified himself as Sam
Bacile and told the Wall Street Journal that he was a 52-year-old
Israeli-American real estate developer from California. He said
Jewish donors had financed his film.
But Israel's foreign ministry said there was no record of a Sam
Bacile with Israeli citizenship.