In the months leading up to his death, U.S. Ambassador to Libya,
Chris Stevens, worried about what he called the never-ending security
threats in Benghazi and mentioned his name was on an al Qaeda hit list, a
source familiar with his thinking told CNN.
Stevens specifically mentioned a rise in Islamic extremism and al Qaeda's growing presence in Libya, the source said.
officials are investigating, but Matthew Olsen, the National
Counterterrorism Center director, said Wednesday that it was unlikely
that Stevens and his security team were killed by random protesters.
"I would say, yes, they
were killed in course of terrorist attack on our embassy," Olsen said at
a Senate Homeland Security hearing.
Stevens and three other
Americans were killed when protesters, angry over a film made in the
United States that mocked the Muslim prophet Mohammed, attacked the U.S.
Consulate in Benghazi.
Washington tried to
distance itself from the uproar, making it clear that it did not
sanction the film. But more than a week of protests have rippled from
Morocco to Malaysia, spurring U.S. officials to increase security at
diplomatic missions and demand other governments to take action.
On Thursday, Libyan and U.S. officials will attend a memorial service in Tripoli for the slain Americans.
Here are the latest key
developments in the fallout from the anti-Islam film, and cartoons
published in a French satirical magazine featuring a figure resembling
French magazine runs cartoons of Mohammed
The French satirical
magazine Charlie Hebdo added to the fiery debate between freedom of
expression and offensive provocation on Wednesday.
The magazine, which is known for outrageous humor, published cartoons featuring a figure resembling the Prophet Mohammed.
Iranian students demonstrated in front of the French embassy in Tehran on Thursday, the semiofficial FARS news agency reported.
But so far, there has been no violence reported as a result of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons.
Still, France will close
embassies and schools in about 20 countries on Friday, the main Muslim
day of prayer, as a precaution, the French foreign ministry said
It is already boosting
security in some locations, including its embassies, and police vehicles
were parked outside the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo late Tuesday.
In the past, Muslims in many countries have taken to the streets after Friday prayers.
Any depiction of Islam's
prophet is considered blasphemy by many Muslims. France has the largest
Muslim population in Western Europe, with an estimated 4.7 million
followers of the faith.
The Charlie Hebdo
cartoons are not labeled Mohammed, but several, including one that
appears to show a man's naked rear end, could easily be interpreted as
being depictions of Islam's prophet.
On Thursday, the Paris
prosecutor's office said a group called the Syrian Association of
Freedom filed a complaint against the magazine for inciting hatred. The
magazine itself turned to the prosecutor's office, asking for an inquiry
after its website was hacked.
Meanwhile, the German
satirical magazine, "Titanic," will publish an issue lampooning
Islamaphobia next week, with a depiction on its cover that could be
interpreted as being the prophet Mohammed.
Staffer Martina Werner
said the Titanic issue will take on film and politicians making
political capital on Islamaphobia, with a cover from an old movie
Asked if it is supposed to depict the prophet Mohammed, Werner answered: "Well, that lies in the eye of the beholder."
Capitol Hill briefings
The White House will
roll out some of its top officials Thursday to brief members of the
House and Senate about the past week's violent developments across the
Middle East and Afghanistan.
Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton, intelligence chief James Clapper and members of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff will be on hand for the briefing.
"Innocence of Muslims"
was an obscure Internet video until September 11, when rioters, seizing
on it, breached the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. Protesters also attacked the
U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. The film mocks Mohammed as a womanizer,
child molester and killer.
Libya has taken steps to
arrest those responsible for the consulate attack, bringing in dozens
for questioning over the weekend, Libyan officials have said.
The exact number of
arrests was unclear. One Libyan official said those arrested included
suspects from Mali and Algeria as well as al Qaeda sympathizers.
In recent days, protests
against the film have been on the wane, but thousands turned out for a
demonstration in Beirut, Lebanon, on Wednesday, waving Hezbollah flags
and yelling, "America is an enemy of God." The United States considers
Hezbollah a terrorist organization.
On Thursday, Iranian
demonstrators gathered in Tehran's Palestinian Square to protest the
film, shouting slogans against the United States and Israel and "those
who insulted the holy prophet," said the state-run Iranian news agency
Rushdie bounty raised
In the midst of the
unrest, an Iranian imam in a little-known organization has raised the
bounty on British novelist Salmon Rushdie to $3.3 million -- a half a
million dollar increase.
"The death sentence
issued against Salman Rushdi was meant to dry the roots of anti-Islamic
plots, and now by carrying out that sentence the sequence of these
anti-Islamic plots could be uprooted and these days are the best time to
do that," Hojatoleslam Hassan Sanei said, according to iran's Mehr News
Rushdie has effectively
been under an Islamic death sentence since 1989 when Iran's then-leader
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini first issued a fatwa, after Rushdie's book,
"The Satanic Verses," was declared blasphemous and sparked protests
throughout the Muslim world.
His new book "Joseph Anton: A Memoir" is an account of the firestorm surrounding the book and the death threats against him.
the 15th of Khordad Foundation, made news when it first offered a bounty
for Rushdie, but in recent years had fallen out of the public eye.
In Los Angeles, one of
the actresses in "Innocence of Muslims" is suing the producer of the
film, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, claiming she is a victim of fraud,
invasion of privacy and misappropriation of her likeness.
Cindy Lee Garcia filed a 17-page complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court Wednesday, which also names YouTube, the video-sharing website on which the video is posted, and its parent company, Google.
Garcia says Google caused her irreparable harm by refusing to remove the content from their site.
Last week, Garcia told
CNN she had been unaware that the filmmaker dubbed over the dialogue in
the movie and inserted anti-Islam sentiments.
representations that he "intended to make an 'adventure film' and that
plaintiff would be depicted as a concerned mother, were false," the suit
"Defendant ... made an
anti-Islam propaganda film, in which plaintiff is falsely made to appear
to accuse the founder of the Islamic religion of being a sexual deviant
and child molester."
"Ms. Garcia has lost her job, her privacy, and has suffered extreme distress over Nakoula's acts," according to the lawsuit.
According to the
complaint, YouTube privately informed Garcia it will not voluntarily
remove the content of the video. Attorney Armenta said that on Thursday,
she will seek an emergency temporary restraining order against Nakoula
and YouTube, asking that the content be removed permanently.
Garcia claims since the
film's backlash, she has received death threats and unable to visit her
grandchildren out of fear that they will be harmed.
Calls to representatives of Nakoula were not immediately returned.
YouTube responded to CNN inquiries, saying it was reviewing the complaint.