Was video director Nakoula an informant?

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Much about the case of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the alleged director of the anti-Islam video, doesn’t add up.

For instance, federal prison records show that Nakoula was released from prison for bank fraud in late June 2011. Yet he was shooting the film that was made into the video that has provoked violent protests across the Middle East just one month later, in July 2011, according to a Craigslist casting call and reported interviews with actors who worked on the low-budget film.

Law enforcement officials, speaking anonymously, also seemed suspiciously quick to ID Nakoula as the filmmaker behind the video, when so many aspects of the video’s provenance are murky.

Criminal records also show that Nakoula had served two other prison sentences, one following his arrest in 1997 for intent to make methamphetamine, and a later one in 2002 for violating the terms of his probation. But much about how those cases remains murky.

Journalists Christine Pelisek and Michael Daly, writing at The Daily Beast, raise the theory, was Nakoula an informant?

Nakoula’s lawyer is not returning phone calls or responding to emails, but it seems reasonable to wonder if Nakoula’s case was not part of this investigation. One question that bears asking is whether Nakoula helped persuade the feds that the drug money was going to Muslim extremists. He is a Coptic Christian. [...]

In the court file for the second case, Indictment CR09-00617, the records regarding the plea deal are sealed. That can be construed as another indication that Nakoula had previously been an informant. His lawyer is not responding to calls or emails regarding this, either.

In a case where so little of the official story adds up, this theory seems plausible.

Queries to Thom Mrozak, spokesman for the US Attorney’s office in Los Angeles about the Nakoula case by Al-Monitor were not answered.