UPDATE AP seemingly solved the mystery late Wednesday, with report on "Bacile"–not real name, not Israeli, sordid past. And see my earlier updates below.
Earlier: Sam Bacile, age 52 (or 56), claims to be real estate tycoon but can’t be located in Google searches. May or may not be Israeli-American who says he has relatives in Egypt. Even his last name, Bacile, questioned as not being Israeli, but he says he made film to help Israel. Film often described as “low-budget” but he says he raised $5 million from 100 Jews. Sarah Posner raises other questions here. In any case, US ambassador to Libya (left) and three other Americans dead.
Here’s a key graf from Atlantic piece:
He knew the film would lead to violence. To state the obvious, a film did not kill four U.S. officials in Libya today, that blame can only be placed on the religious extremists (allegedly Islamic) who fired gunshots and rocket-propelled grenades into the U.S. Embassy. But according to one of Bacile’s consultants on the film, Steve Klein, the two knew full well that their incendiary movie would provoke violent reprisals. Klein told the Associated Press this morning that he warned Bacile “you’re going to be the next Theo van Gogh,” referring to the Dutch filmmaker murdered by a Muslim extremist in 2004. Klein said Bacile acknowledged that. “We went into this knowing this was probably going to happen,” he told the AP. Well gentlemen, congratulations, you got your violent reprisal.
The anti-Islam filmmaker has gone into hiding in California. Naturally, Pastor Terry Jones, in Florida, is also involved. NBC just said it is in process of interviewing him but will not air right away while it considers “megaphone effect.” Bacile, AP notes, remains “defiant.” He still calls Islam a “cancer” and blamed the deaths on poor security at embassies. Afghanistan just banned YouTube so video cannot be seen there.
[[ UPDATE 2:20 p.m. Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic has new post in which he says Klein just told him Bacile is NOT Jewish and Bacile is not his real name. Klein himself has led anti-Islam protests among other such activities. Klein is a self-described militant Christian and consultant on the film. There may be hints that Klein is actually Bacile? Who knows.]]
[[UPDATE: CNN just reported that U.S. sources now say the Libya attack was planned in advance and the thugs merely used the protest for cover or took advantage of it. Not sure what this means, but this earlier post provocatively claims that the film really had nothing to do it with it–it was a revenge assault from the first.]]
Meanwhile, Romney has charged that Obama sympathizes with the attackers and GOP boss @Reince tweets much the same, sparking outrage—but expect this to be a GOP and wingnut talking point for the next fifty-five days. For now, other GOP leaders have simply condemned the attacks but not Obama, but that’s coming and will be talk radio and TV focus today.
As for Romney’s statements, even Mr. Inside, Mark Halperin hammers him: “Unless the Romney campaign has gamed this crisis out in some manner completely invisible to the Gang of 500, his doubling down on criticism of the President for the statement coming out of Cairo is likely to be seen as one of the most craven and ill-advised tactical moves in this entire campaign.”