The short answer is, he doesn’t exist.
“The anti-Islam film that has sparked considerable outrage and violence across the Middle East and Islamic world appears to be a product of several Christian anti-Muslim activists.
Although the false claim that the film Innocence of Muslims was the work of an “Israeli Jew” received widespread attention in the U.S. and abroad, recent reports indicate that the film was created, produced and promoted by individuals connected to a network of anti-Muslim organizations.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a 55-year-old California-based Coptic Christian, appears to be the one responsible for creating the impression that the film was created and supported by Jews. According to American officials in an interview with the Arabic-language television station Al Hurra, Nakoula is the alleged producer and filmmaker of the anti-Islam film. Nakoula initially exposed his role to international media under the pseudonym Sam Bacile, a fictitious individual that the Associated Press had initially reported was “an Israeli filmmaker based in California.” In the interview with the AP, Nakoula, speaking under a pseudonym, said the film cost $5 million to make “and was financed with the help of more than 100 Jewish donors.” These claims have since been disproved with the revelation that Sam Bacile does not exist.
Steve Klein is a California-based anti-Muslim Christian activist and former U.S. Marine who claims that he provided consulting services for the production of Innocence of Muslims. In a recent interview following the outbreak of violence in Cairo and Benghazi, Klein described the film as being designed to spark outrage. In addition to his alleged role in the film’s technical production, Klein is founder and board member of Courageous Christians United (CCU), an organization that protests outside of mosques, abortion clinics and Mormon temples. CCU issued a statement today denouncing the film and indicating that Klein had been removed from the board. Many of the links on the group’s website redirect readers to sites designed to convince Muslims, Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses to convert to Christianity. Klein is also the founder of Concerned Citizens for the First Amendment (CCFA), an anti-Muslim group whose primary initiative is to warn high school students that they are being brainwashed through courses and lesson on Islamic history. He has spoken at conferences on the subject of Islam at the Church at Kaweah, a militant Christian church base in California. “
Update 1: Spiegel follows up:
“After the protests began, sources leaked a phone number to the Associated Press news agency. When reporters dialed the number, a man answered who claimed to be Sam Bacile, the film’s director. “Islam is a cancer,” he said, adding that he was an Israeli Jew who wanted to spread the truth about Islam. Some 100 Jews had donated money to the project, he said, supposedly to the tune of $5 million. Anyone who says something like that is not only willing to accept a few deaths; he is, at least in the eyes of many Muslims, also getting the state of Israel involved.
But the journalists felt that there was something about his story that didn’t add up. They found the address that corresponds to the man’s cell phone number. The man who came to the door in a cul-de-sac in Cerritos near Los Angeles denied being Bacile. He said that he was only responsible for managing the film team’s logistics, and showed them his driver’s license, but covered his middle name with one of his fingers. The journalists were able to read Nakoula Nakoula — and the rest was research. They found out that Nakoula was convicted of federal bank fraud charges in 2010. He was given a 21-month prison sentence and ordered to pay $790,000 (€600,000) in restitution.
Now, the reporters knew that his real name was Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a Coptic Christian from Egypt with US citizenship. According to police records, he maintains at least 14 aliases. “Basseley” sounds almost like “Bacile”. US investigators believe that Sam Bacile, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula and the director are one and the same person. “