He’s defiant, but not as defiant as you might think from that headline. He has no regrets about making the movie and says he’ll finish it once he’s out of the pen, but if you’re expecting any indignation over the White House’s repulsive attempt to make him a scapegoat for Islamist degeneracy, think again. He’s entirely deferential to The One — and maybe you would be too if you were stuck in a federal jail cell reading newspapers with daily reports about government gone rogue.

“It is not [a] religion movie,” he said. “I have a lot of Muslim friends and not all the Muslims believe in the terrorism culture. Some of them believe in this culture. That’s why we need to fight [against] the culture, not the Muslims. My enemy is the terrorism culture; this is my enemy…

“Of course I’m proud of [the movie]. If I could go back, I would do it again,” said Nakoula, 55, a Coptic Christian born in Egypt who came to the United States in 1984. “Everybody gets hurt in this culture. We need the world free of this culture. We have to fight it.”…

“I would like to thank the United States government from the top to the bottom for protecting me,” he said. “They treat me very, very good since this happened until now.”

When asked about Rice’s promotion last week to National Security Adviser after she became the face of the White House effort to substitute him for Al Qaeda as the cause of the Benghazi attack, Nakoula was again unwilling to be critical of the Obama administration.

“Who am I to criticize the United States’ commander in chief? This is his decision,” he said. “It’s not my responsibility. It’s not my job.”

When asked if he thought the administration had used him and his movie as scapegoats, he said simply “No comment.” That’s how you answer when you’re afraid to answer otherwise. I wonder if he knows that the frontrunner for the next Democratic nomination told more than one relative of Americans killed in Benghazi that they should blame him for the bloodletting. No comment.

As a companion piece to this, read NPR’s account of the town-hall meeting held last week in Tennessee by U.S. Attorney Bill Killian warning the locals that under certain circumstances hate speech against Muslims can and will be prosecuted. Here’s how the Times Free Press quoted him:

“Let me be clear, in this country, hateful speech is allowed,” Killian said. “It is protected by the freedom of speech part of the first amendment.

“But if someone makes threats of violence, that is not protected speech and they will be prosecuted,” he said. “Likewise, if someone commits acts of violence under the guise of religious or other speech, they will be prosecuted for their violent acts.”…

First Amendment Center president and executive director Gene Policinski said before the Manchester meeting on Tuesday that the details of the threat and the specificity of its target are significant in determining how federal law applies to comments made in a public forum.

The threat “has to be likely, imminent and directed at a specific person,” Policinski said.

In an interview with Todd Starnes, Killian cited 18 U.S.C. 241 and 245, both of which criminalize “intimidation” of someone based on their religion or the free exercise of it, as the relevant statutes. What constitutes “intimidation”? That depends. The Supreme Court ruled 10 years ago that Virginia could criminalize an act of cross-burning that’s committed with the intent to intimidate because it’s tantamount to a “true threat” and threats aren’t protected by the First Amendment. Nakoula’s movie, whether “hate speech” or not, isn’t a threat and therefore he wouldn’t be at risk for prosecution in theory, but I’ve warned you repeatedly in the past about the potential for abuse of the “fighting words” exception to the First Amendment in the future if the “heckler’s veto” approach to jihadi violence starts to take hold among America’s legal establishment. Nakoula wouldn’t be tried by Killian’s office today — I think — but 20 years from now? Who knows?