Benghazi scapegoat finally leaving federal custody

posted at 8:41 am on September 26, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

More than a year after the terrorist attack in Benghazi claimed the lives of four Americans, including the first American ambassador killed in the line of duty in 33 years, critics of the Obama administration like to point out that none of the terrorists have been apprehended, but the filmmaker that the White House scapegoated still sits in prison.  The latter half of that argument becomes moot today, as Nakoula Basseley Nakoula/Mark Basseley Youssef will officially exit federal custody:

The man behind a film that stoked anti-U.S. protests across the Muslim world was due for release from federal custody in California on Thursday after serving time for probation violations stemming from his role in making the video.

The 56-year-old Egyptian-born Coptic Christian, Mark Basseley Youssef, gained public notice for the crudely made 13-minute anti-Islam video he produced in Southern California that portrayed the Prophet Mohammad as a fool and sexual deviant.

The film, circulated online under several titles including “The Innocence of Muslims,” touched off a torrent of anti-American demonstrations in Arab and Muslim countries, where many consider any depiction of the Prophet as blasphemous.

The start of the unrest on September 11, 2012, coincided with an attack on U.S. diplomatic posts in the Libyan city of Benghazi that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya. Links between the Benghazi assault and Youssef’s film have since been debunked.

Yes they have, although it took a concerted effort to get the White House and State Department to finally admit it.  They sent then-UN Ambassador Susan Rice out to do the full Ginsburg on Sunday talk shows to spin that fairy tale, even in one instance on the same program where the president of Libya tried to explain that it was a terrorist attack.  The purveyor of that debunked, fraudulent claim now works as National Security Adviser to the President, of course.

While the claim was still extant, though, federal officials seized Youssef/Nakoula from his house in my home town of Cerritos, California.  The Reuters account has federal officials changing the context just a tad:

Youssef, a former gasoline station owner who previously served time for a 2010 bank fraud conviction, was sent back to prison last year after admitting that he breached the terms of his probation in connection with the making of the film.

Federal prosecutors insisted his arrest last September had nothing to do with the film’s content but with conduct that violated the terms of his probation, such as his use of aliases and the Internet, in the course of making the video.

Really?  Had nothing to do with the film, eh?  I guess federal officials make bad cinema on YouTube a high priority, just on the off chance that indie filmmakers might be violating parole.

The timing of the targeting of Nakoula shows that this claim is nonsense, anyway.  Federal and local law enforcement swarmed Nakoula’s neighborhood in Cerritos to detain him on September 15th, the day before Susan Rice offered a fairy tale to the American public rather than level with us about the nature of the terrorist attack.  He didn’t get formally arrested until twelve days later, when Allahpundit wrote this:

No word yet on what the violation was, but I assume it must be far more serious than using an alias or a computer. Given the insanity of the past two weeks, replete with the White House nudging Google to pull the video off of YouTube and the State Department running ads on Pakistani TV to apologize for a movie they had nothing to do with, I can’t quite believe the DOJ would risk the perception that they’re punishing this guy for a thoughtcrime unless something serious was involved. There has to be a real crime underlying this. Right?

As it turned out … no. Nakoula will have spent a year minus one day in official federal custody for parole violations, which would be understandable had those come to light before the White House and State Department set him up as a scapegoat for their own failures.

Now he’s out and on four years of probation.  Can we now get some real answers as to how we let Benghazi fall, and start holding people accountable — other than producers of laughably bad cinema?


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