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A definitive and comprehensive investigative report into the curious origins of a video blamed for the attack in Benghazi
18 May 2014: Based on my extensive 18-month investigation, it is my professional conclusion that the Internet video known as Innocence of Muslims, the video allegedly responsible for Middle East violence and more importantly, the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi that resulted in the death of four Americans can be directly tied to a covert intelligence operation and operational assets of the U.S. Department of Justice. Additionally, the individuals and entities responsible for the Internet promotion of the video of that name can be traced not just to an intelligence operation contemporaneous to the attacks, but to previous events of historical significance and current relevance.
Investigation found that the video cited as the cause for the attack in Benghazi and riots in the Middle East underwent at least four name changes, including Desert Warrior, The innocence of bn Laden, The Real Life of Muhammad, and finally, Innocence of Muslims. Investigation also found evidence that the primary individual behind the film worked as an operational asst for the FBI in exchange for leniency due to his criminal past. Indications of a possible association by one or more of the individuals responsible for the film to U.S. intelligence agencies, including the CIA, are also suggested.
This investigator also found evidence that suggests that the Internet promotion of the video is linked to at least one entity with ties to government subcontractors. That is, an analysis of electronic footprints of the video trailer under the title Innocence of Muslims, which existed in virtual obscurity for a significant period from its production until September 11, 2012, has been traced to a now defunct Internet YouTube news channel that appears connected to the company formerly known as Stanley, Inc., a subcontractor to various agencies of the U.S. Federal Government that provided products and services to the U.S. military, the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, among others. Stanley, Inc. was acquired by the CGI Group in 2010.
It is relevant to note that Stanley, Inc., based in Arlington, Virginia, was awarded a $164 million contract to print new U.S. passports in 2006. It is even more important to point out that two employees of Stanley, Inc., along with a third individual employed by another defense contractor identified as The Analysis Corporation, were identified as the perpetrators who breached the records of the U.S. passport office on three occasions in 2008 and “improperly accessed” the passport records of Barack Hussein Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain. The breaches occurred on January 9, February 21 and March 14, 2008.
Investigation verified that the CEO of the Analysis Corporation at the time of the passport office break-in was John O. Brennan, who served as a close advisor to Obama in 2008 on matters of intelligence and foreign policy. Brennan also contributed to Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and had a 25-year career in the CIA. John O. Brennan is now the head of the CIA under Obama.
It is here that we must recall that at the time of the passport office break-in, Barack Hussein Obama was on the campaign trail as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. The news of the breach was made public within a week of the last intrusion, and a week later, on March 21, 2008, Obama was asked for his reaction by ABC News Jake Tapper while campaigning. Obviously, Obama now officially knows that the public has been informed about the level of the breach, and that Obama’s personal and confidential biographical information, in addition to his international travels was apparently “accessed.”
It is important to note that that the files accessed included Obama’s personal passport and not limited to his diplomatic passport.
On April 8, 2008, Obama continued to comment on the fact that the confidentiality of his passport records were apparently compromised. It was on this occasion when Obama admitted, for the first time in any public venue as a presidential candidate, that he traveled to Pakistan in 1981. It is reasonable to wonder whether Obama would have disclosed his Pakistan trip at this time had it not been for the uncertainty that the information was already “in play.”
Even ABC News appeared surprised at this sudden and unexpected revelation, considering all of the talk about Pakistan and U.S. foreign policy during the previous several months. Research shows that Obama did not disclose this trip at any time during any policy discussions or debates prior to the passport office breach.
It is also important to point out that during the investigation of the breach of the passport office records, the Washington Times reported that “officials do not know whether information was improperly copied, altered or removed from the database during the intrusions” [Emphasis added]. As time progressed, however, so did the leaks. It was reported that at least one employee within the U.S. State Department shared passport information with a man identified as Lieutenant Quarles Harris Jr.
My investigation suggests that Harris was the intended recipient of stolen credit card information from the State Department employee, but received more than what he bargained for. When he realized the scope of the crime and the explosive nature of the information he possessed, he turned to investigators for protection. He also began to talk with investigators and ultimately, made a deal with federal prosecutors.
Before he could make good on his deal, Lieutenant Quarles Harris Jr. was found shot to death in his car on April 17, 2008, just over a month after the last breach. He was found in front of the Judah House Praise Baptist Church in the northeast section of Washington. He had been shot in the head.
The murder of Harris remains unsolved, and the official narrative of that murder is that Harris was either a victim of random violence, or his murder was a result of a “street deal gone bad.”
Clearly, investigation into the video and those individuals and entities behind the video known as Innocence of Muslims has found tentacles that reach far beyond the Benghazi attacks. There seems to be a connection, borne out of electronic footprints, to our own intelligence agencies in the creation and promotion of this video as outlined above.
Following the announcement to establish a Congressional Select Committee on Benghazi and in response to recently released documents to Judicial Watch, numerous government officials and media pundits have “doubled down” on the narrative that an anti-Muslim movie ultimately titled Innocence of Muslims was the proximate cause for the attacks in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012 that killed four Americans, including a U.S. Ambassador. To stipulate that the video played a primary role in the attack and murder in Benghazi, therefore, is to require it to be properly characterized as critical evidence in a criminal act of international terror. Accordingly, the video, and anyone involved in its funding, production and dissemination must be subjected to extensive investigation as it must be classified as evidence in a multiple homicide stemming from an attack on U.S. property located on foreign soil. To date, no meaningful investigation has been conducted.
Since the Benghazi attacks, officials at the highest levels of our government, supported and even in some instances, facilitated by many in the media and political pundits, have identified the film as the primary and sole motive behind the attack and the murders. As referenced above, evidence of such facilitation was further confirmed in a series of 41 documents secured by Judicial Watch pertaining to Benghazi on April 18, 2014.
Among those documents include a recently declassified e-mail originating from then-White House Deputy Strategic Communications Adviser Ben Rhodes and other Obama administration public relations officials “attempting to orchestrate a campaign to ‘reinforce’ President Obama and to portray the Benghazi consulate terrorist attack as being ‘rooted in an Internet video, and not a failure of policy.”[emphasis by this author]
It is relevant to point out that Ben Rhodes, now Obama’s deputy national security advisor, is the brother of CBS News president David Rhodes. As the e-mail ‘thread’ details, Ben Rhodes was instrumental in changing the talking points used by administration spokesmen immediately following the attack in Benghazi. It would appear that a prima facie case now exists that places the origins of emphasis and blame on an Internet video originated at the White House level, pursuant to the instructions or with the imprimatur of Obama or one of his stand-ins. The message was merely conveyed by Rhodes, who would likely lack operational authority to make such a decision, according to multiple sources interviewed for this investigation.
In criminal cases and in modern popular culture that includes television, movies and detective novels, motive is one of three aspects of a broader summation of a crime that is used to establish, in part, the determination of guilt of a suspect or suspects. We often hear of “motive, means and opportunity” as a “three-legged stool” on which the guilt or innocence of suspects might rest. With respect to Benghazi, the motive for the attacks has been persistently identified as the creation and distribution of the film Innocence of Muslims.
For the specific benefit of anyone who maintains the belief that the film was the motive behind the attack and murders, the following represents the findings from my research and investigation. For the benefit of anyone who believes otherwise, the following should serve as confirmation that the film was a convenient, albeit planned cover story that had its origins deep within the mechanics of covert intelligence operations.
Summary of Findings
Based on extensive investigation and research in my capacity as an investigator and investigative journalist, it is my professional opinion that blaming the Internet video for the attack at Benghazi is plagued by at least three major irreconcilable inconsistencies that appear to lack any credible explanations in the context of motive:
1. The suppositious relationship between the alleged creator of the video, including others reportedly involved in its funding, creation, distribution and promotion, to U.S. federal intelligence agencies and related government subcontractors. The intelligence agencies include the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI);
2. The extemporaneous timing and method of the film’s distribution;
3. The post-event use of the film by government officials and their spokespersons as a ready-made, readily accessible asset of otherwise limited prominence to divert attention away from the actual nature of the attack in its immediate aftermath.
Several investigations have already been performed by various oversight committees, including the often cited Accountability Review Board (ARB), yet none of the issues listed above have been addressed or investigated in any meaningful depth or fashion.
Supplemental note regarding video-spurred violence: Deceptive characterization of attack site
It is important to note that while the primary issue of focus has been that of inadequate security at diplomatic facilities (i.e. embassies and consulates) particularly in the Middle East, the attack occurred at an unmarked, nondescript location that effectively served as a CIA operations center and logistics facility for the covert transfer of arms and personnel throughout North Africa.
There were no American flags flying outside of the compound, and nothing iconic was overtly displayed that would readily identify this location as official U.S. property conducting normal embassy or consulate business. Therefore, to suggest that this site would be a logical target for a demonstration by Muslims upset over an insulting video is disingenuous at best, and represents an intentional deception that could only be purveyed by individuals who fully understood the precise reason for the existence of this compound.
The initial descriptions of the attack occurring at an embassy, then a consulate, and finally a “mission” were deliberately misleading. The compound was none of those, and this fact was known from the beginning. The false descriptions were used to (1) hide the true nature and use of the CIA compound in Benghazi, and (2) to reinforce the government’s position that the video caused sufficient and spontaneous violence beyond what could be reasonably anticipated or controlled.
While the issue of security failures and lapses might indeed have merit in the broader context of U.S. diplomatic facilities in the Middle East, to apply those talking points to this compound is an intentional redirection and sleight of hand deception designed to focus attention away from the real issues.
Addressing the first of the three major irreconcilable inconsistencies listed above, investigation found strong evidence of a direct and lengthy working relationship between the creator of the video, the FBI and possibly the CIA and foreign intelligence agencies. The man who federal authorities claim created the video was identified as California resident Mark Basseley Youssef, 57, a/k/a Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, Sam Bacile and a dozen other aliases. Youssef was born in Egypt and emigrated to the United States, where he ultimately settled in Cerritos, Los Angeles County, California. He was the owner/operator of at least two gas stations until running into severe financial problems in the mid 1990′s that ultimately led him to file for bankruptcy in 2000.
In 1997, meanwhile, Youseff was arrested by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department after he was found to be in possession of ephedrine, hydroiodic acid (a DEA List I Chemical linked to the production of Meth), and $45,000 in cash following a routine traffic stop. He was charged with intent to manufacture methamphetamine. He pleaded guilty in 1997 and was sentenced to one year in the Los Angeles County Jail and three years probation. According to court records, he violated probation in 2002 and was re-sentenced to an additional 12 months in county jail.
In 2010, Youseff again found himself in legal trouble, pleading no contest to federal charges of bank fraud in Southern California. He opened numerous bank accounts under fictitious names and stolen Social Security numbers, using the different identities to “kite checks.” It is at this point that Youseff worked with the FBI and testified against the alleged ring leader of a much larger fraud operation in exchange for a lighter sentence of 1 year and 9 months in a federal prison, followed by five years of probation. He was ordered to pay $794,701 in restitution and fines, and was released from supervised custody in June of 2011 under conditions that included that he not use any aliases or false identities, and was prohibited from using the Internet without prior permission of his probation officer.
Immediately after the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Youseff reportedly called the Associated Press and the Wall Street Journal, stating that his name was Sam Bacile and that he had produced the movie causing the riots in Egypt. According to both sources, the cell phone used by Youseff was traced back to his home in Cerritos, California.
Accounts pertaining to the funding of the movie differ. Youseff initially claimed that the video was funded by $5 million in donations from 100 Jewish donors, although he told authorities that he invested $50-60,000 that he obtained from his wife’s family in Egypt. Additionally, Youseff claimed to have written the movie script while incarcerated.
On September 27, 2012, two weeks after the Benghazi attack, Youseff was arrested by U.S. federal authorities in Los Angeles and charged violating terms of his probation for using an alias and allegedly making false statements to investigators. On November 7, 2012, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to one year in prison and four years of supervised release. He is presently out of jail, on probation, and reportedly “in hiding.”
Following the arrest of Mark Basseley Youssef, a/k/a Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a/k/a Sam Bacile, etc., a California licensed insurance salesman and self-described “unsophisticated James Bond operative” identified as Steven Klein, 64 came forward and proclaimed himself to be the spokesman for the movie maker, who he referred to as Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, an admitted false name. This author interviewed Mr. Klein on a special segment of The Hagmann & Hagmann report on September 23, 2013 for 90 minutes.
Steven Klein is a Vietnam Veteran and an outspoken critic of Muslim violence. It was allegedly Klein’s public anti-Islamic position that caused Nakoula (Youssef) to seek him months before the production of the film, ostensibly for advice on First Amendment issues. During my off-air interview with Mr. Klein, he was reluctant to explain exactly how Youssef was drawn to him, or how they knew met each other. He also declined to identify others who might be involved in the video, or anything beyond a very narrow set of talking points that appeared polished and rehearsed. He referred to Youssef and others he dealt with as Coptic Christian refugees who were, at that time, concerned for their safety.
Steven Klein claims that he first heard from Youssef once before the actual production of the movie, then again when the movie was completed and ready for a theater showing. He claims that at the point that the video was ready for a theater showing, it was the idea of the “filmmaker” to change the name of the video to The Innocence of Muslims to entice militant Muslims into seeing the video, thereby “brainwashing” them into converting away from Islam.
It was in June 2012 that Klein and Youssef set up two showings at the Vine Theater in Los Angeles. It is important to note that the statements of Klein and Youssef are inconsistent with the actual dissemination of the video, and further investigation pertaining to the promotion of the YouTube video does not comport with the statements of either Youssef or Klein. Investigation suggests yet another party (or multiple parties) involved in the electronic dissemination of the video.
The video chronology
14 July 2011: A “casting call” was posted to Craig’s List, soliciting actors and actresses to appear in a movie under the working title Desert Warrior. Research published by various websites such as gawker notes that key in the video’s production was 65 year-old Alan Roberts, a/k/a Robert Brownell, a film director and editor of films such as Young Lady Chatterly, The Happy Hooker goes to Hollywood, and Karate Cop.
Roberts directing role was the result of a request by Nakoula Basseley Nakoula. However, the actual identity of Roberts, a/k/a Robert Brownell, a/k/a Robert Alan Brown, remain in question. He is described as a Caucasian male in his mid 50s, and reportedly worked directly under Nakoula as the director. The problem, however, according to at least two of the primary actors of the film, was that Roberts did not anything about film directing. Accordingly, this investigator questions whether the man identified as Roberts is, in fact, Roberts or has any association to the film industry.
According to several cast members who appeared in the video, they were told that they were appearing in a historical drama set in the Middle East under the working title Desert Warrior, however the end product was a dubbed, spliced and edited version of their performance. It should also be noted that some of the scenes were shot in the Cerritos home of Mark Basseley Youssef, a/k/a Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.
June 2012: The video, now titled The Innocence of Bn Laden[sic], was scheduled to be shown at the Vine Theater in Los Angeles, California on 30 June, 2012 under that new title. It is important to note, however, that this street title is different than the title that appeared on the Internet before, during and after this date. Two-(2) The Innocence of Bn Laden screenings were scheduled to play at the Vine Theater, and thousands of flyers written in Arabic were created and passed out in advance of that date.
29 June 2012 (Friday): A regular to the Los Angeles City Council meetings, a man identified as John Walsh, Hollywood resident and operator of a local blog site, participated in the general public comments. His appearance begins at the 2:30:15 mark in the archived footage of the Los Angeles meeting at City Hall. Rather cryptically, he simply asks rhetorically whether the “neo-Nazis are coming to Hollywood and directs the council members to his blog that references the Vince Theater showing.
30 June 2012 (Saturday): Accounts of the scheduled showings vary somewhat by publication, but based on the assertions of Steve Klein during the September 23rd edition of The Hagmann & Hagmann Report, the second showing was cancelled when no one showed up to watch the video. The theater reportedly “closed” the screening without incident.
1 July 2012 (Sunday): ONLINE: Interestingly, the title of the video that was published online was changed from The Innocence of Bn Laden to The Real Life of Muhammad on the YouTube channel hosted under the name Sam Bacile, now known to be Mark Basseley Youssef.
8 September 2012: On or about September 8, 2012, the video trailer was forwarded to television Sheikh Khalid Abdullah, an Islamic Cairo who aired just over two minutes of the trailer during his broadcast. Although it has not been established who forwarded the trailer to Abdullah, it is reasonable to believe that he would publicly televise the footage. This is ostensibly the cause for the violence in Cairo, which was forcibly associated with the attack in Benghazi by the Obama administration.
Otherwise, traffic to the video (and shorter trailer) remained relatively dormant.
Online/Digital forensic investigation
Until September 11, 2012, the video and trailer existed online on YouTube channels as The Innocence of bin Laden. Based on forensic examination, however, the name of the video was inexplicable changed from The Innocence of bin Laden to an expanded trailer known as Innocence of Muslims on a YouTube channel operated by an entity known as NewsPoliticsNow—most significantly, of all dates, on September 11, 2012. Channels affiliated with NewsPoliticsNow include numerical channels 1 through 3, as well as NewsPoliticsLeaks and FirstLeaks.
As I noted in my initial investigative report of this matter on September 24, 2012, I found an Internet video titled Proof Positive – In My Opinion posted by an individual on the YouTube channel under the user name “Montagraph.” Interestingly, I found that many of his findings mirrored mine (or mine his), as we both traced the Avatar image metadata used by the NewsPoliticsNow channel that changed the name of the video during the early morning hours of September 11, 2012 and hosted the video to then government contractor Stanley, Inc., since acquisitioned by CGI.
As an aside, it should be noted that CGI played a significant and very controversial role in the rollout of the Affordable Health Care Act (ObamaCare) website. They were awarded a $678 million no-bid contract to build the Obamacare exchange web portal, which failed miserably. Also notable is the incestuous relationships between CGI Federal executives to both Barack and Michelle Obama, and that CGI enjoyed routine White House access.
In summary, process of changing the name of the video and disseminating it during the very early hours of September 11, 2012, corresponding with nearly the exact local time in Libya when the attack on the CIA compound was beginning, appears to be legitimately traced to an Internet entity tied to government contractor Stanley, Inc., based on detailed forensic examination.
Based on the above, it should be reasonable to conclude that the official assertions made by then Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, UN Ambassador Susan Rice, and Barack Hussein Obama that the controversial video was the proximal cause of the attack in Benghazi is a deliberate fabrication.
It is interesting to note that following the attacks in Benghazi, the White House and the U.S. State Department curiously stated that the U.S. Government “has absolutely nothing to do with this video.” A person of reasonable sensibilities might ask why such a statement would be made without any charge that the video was created by the government. Why deny an act that lacks any current accusation?
The week of the attack, the U.S. then bought $70,000 worth of air time on seven Pakistani television channels to air an ad showing Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also denouncing the anti-Islamic video any denying any U.S. involvement in its production.
“The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants, and it provides the further advantage of giving the servants of tyranny a good conscience.” - Albert Camus, 1957 Nobel Peace Prize winner for Literature
 Other aliases, according to court documents, include: Matthew Nekola; Ahmed Hamdy; Amal Nada; Daniel K. Caresman; Kritbag Difrat; Sobhi Bushra; Robert Bacily; Nicola Bacily; Thomas J. Tanas; Erwin Salameh; Mark Basseley Youssef; Yousseff M. Basseley; Malid Ahlawi; P.J. Tobacco.