FBI Warns of Retaliation for Video
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is advising people linked to a video deemed insulting to the Prophet Muhammad of an increased threat of retaliatory violence against them.
A federal government bulletin to local law-enforcement officials warned of the possibility of retaliation within the U.S. over the low-budget "Muhammad Movie Trailer," a 14-minute clip posted to YouTube that has sparked rioting and protests across the Muslim world.
The effort, while low-key, shows the U.S. government is worried about violence not just abroad but also at home.
So far, there have been no known incidents of violence in the U.S. linked to the video. But as is often the case when the FBI learns of an increased danger to specific groups or individuals, the agency is privately sharing that threat information, according to multiple officials.
In addition to those directly involved with the film, officials said they were also watching for any possible threat against Egyptian Christians, or Copts, living in the U.S. The movie has its roots with a Southern California group of Egyptian Christians. Mainstream Coptic groups have denounced the film.
The officials wouldn't identify what threat information the FBI has shared, or with whom. But on Thursday, Los Angeles County official Ryan Alsop said the film permit for the movie—normally a public document—had been "temporarily removed at the specific request of federal authorities, who have cited public safety concerns.''
Two hours later, Mr. Alsop amended his statement, saying the U.S. government hadn't officially asked the county to alter its normal policy. He said the document was being withheld due to public safety concerns raised by the FBI and the State Department.
The permit lists the names and phone numbers of a handful of people who were hired to work on the production, including location managers, assistants and others whose identities have not yet been publicly disclosed or reported, according to a person familiar with the matter.
"There was a question from the county's point of view as to whether it was fair to put those people at risk," this person said.