U.S. envoy to Libya, a Bay Area native, killed over anti-Muslim film

The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other American diplomats were killed, and the U.S. Embassy in Cairo was attacked over an anti-Muslim movie.

John Christopher Stevens, 52, who graduated from Piedmont High School and U.C. Berkeley, was killed along with three unnamed diplomats Sept. 11 in a rocket attack on their car in Benghazi. The previous evening, Egyptian protesters climbed over the wall of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, pulled down an American flag and tried to set it alight.

The attacks followed the release online of an Arabic translation of a movie titled “Innocence of Muslims.” The two-hour movie, which according to the Associated Press cost $5 million to make and was financed by more than 100 Jewish donors, attacks the Islamic prophet Muhammad as a fraud.

Although it was originally reported that the film’s director was an Israeli American named Sam Bacile, it now appears that the name is a pseudonym and the actual director is not Israeli.

That revelation was made by Atlantic correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg, who spoke to a self-described militant Christian activist named Steve Klein, who consulted on the film.

A high-ranking Israeli official in Los Angeles said that no one in the Hollywood film industry or in the local Israeli community knew of a Sam Bacile. — jta