Right wing blogger Glenn Reynolds calls for Obama's resignation after police brought anti-Islam 'Innocence of Muslims' filmmaker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula in for questioning on possible probation violation.

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula anti-Islam film

Right Wing Blogger Glenn Reynolds Calls for Obama Resignation Because “Brownshirted Enforcers” Hauled Probationer Nakoula Basseley Nakoula in for Questioning

Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds is calling for President Obama to resign for ‘brownshirted enforcers’ type officers bringing in anti-Islam “Innocence of Muslims” filmmaker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula for questioning, saying his free speech rights have been violated. Reynolds, who is a lawyer, is making hay out of nothing. Nothing like doling out a big plate of scariness. Why? You see, the federal authorities have a right to bring Nakoula in for questioning because he is currently on probation for bank fraud. I wonder, did it ever cross Glenn Reynolds’ mind the authorities might want to find out where he got the money to bankroll the project? Oh, no. It’s just easier and makes for better news to blame Obama and keep the ‘dictator’ thingy going, as well as keeping the belief held by many wingnuts that he’s secretly a Muslim. SMH. If Nakoula is being questioned in the context of violating his probation, how is Obama being a bully?

By sending — literally — brownshirted enforcers to engage in — literally — a midnight knock at the door of a man for the non-crime of embarrassing the President of the United States and his administration, President Obama violated that oath. You can try to pretty this up (It’s just about possible probation violations! Sure.), or make excuses or draw distinctions, but that’s what’s happened. It is a betrayal of his duties as President, and a disgrace. Source:  Instapundit

If Nakoula violated the terms of his probation, then he should be sent back to prison. It’s just that simple. This has nothing to do with the mayhem the film sparked. Pajama Media is grovelling for a reason to smear President Obama, just like the typical right wing spin machines — Twitchy, Michelle Malkin, Powerline, Newsbusters Weasel Zippers and Breitbart. Nakoula Basseley Nakoula is obligated under the law to speak with his probation officer and federal authorities. That fact was conveniently ignored by Glenn Reynolds, who should be ashamed of himself for making such an assertion, since he’s an attorney. If I were his client or a student in one of his classes, I would be questioning his judgment to apply the law and not put politics first.

Let me underscore the fact that Nakoula Basseley Nakoula pleaded no contest to bank fraud charges in 2010 and was banned from using computers or the Internet or using false identities as part of his sentence, according to the LA Times. So, what of the alias, Sam Bacile? How did he get the money to pay the crew, actors and actresses for the movie? This just plays into the narrative that the right wing will do anything to put an idiot in the White House at all costs, oblivious to facts and the truth.

Glenn Reynolds’ screed has left me wondering how in the world someone who should be knowledgeable about the law could come up with such a weak argument calling for President Obama’s resignation? Hey, Glenn, why not call for Mitt Romney to drop out of the race, since he has enraged so many conservatives with his vagueness and inability to thrash Obama in the polls, given the weak economy and continued joblessness? Wait, how could I forget, the Republican leadership in Congress were hellbent on making Obama a one-term president and blocked him every step of the way.

CORRECTION NOTE: An earlier version of this post mistakenly quoted Glenn Reynolds as using the phrase “Nazi paramilitary-type.” This error has now been corrected. We regret the error.

This was cross-posted from The Hinterland Gazette.

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OK fine but what crime is it that he may have broken? Is there anything anyone can think of? The financial crimes thing is weak unless there is someone, anyone, who has complained so while I think Reynolds’ is a nut why would he be brought in for questioning and by who? Since it seems not to be his probation officer there may be misuse of law enforcement in this case.

Shannon Lee

Hmm…as far as I know, any law enforcement officer can arrest a person for breaking their probation.

Attacking the President on this is absolutely stupid, but hey, you gotta love the reference to Nazism! oh wait, I thought Obama was a socialist!!?!?! I am so confused!!

Patrick in Michigan

Like many other rightwing noisemakers, Reynolds doesn’t really care if what he says is true or not, he only cares that he might be able to generate some heat. Obama is gonna catch it from people like this regardless of what he does.


Chirpin’ with Jimmy Cricket again. What if the man was on probation for Internet chatting with kids? Would you oppose LEO taking him in for breaking probation requirements under that example?


Reynolds is being over the top of course. The Nazi references are the kind of weak tactics hyper-partisans often resort to, and as far as I can tell there is nothing to tie Obama to this and certainly nothing to cause people to call for his resignation.

Hustling Nakouls out of his house in the dead of night with what appears to be a good-sized contingent of sheriffs does seem overdone though. According to the LA Times the police talked to him for 30 minutes and let him go and didn’t even find out where he went, not the kind of conclusion you’d expect after aggressively taking him into custody. I think Nakoula has an attorney and it seems to me the police could have just arranged for him to come in for questioning.

This does raise the question of why the police handled this in this way, and one answer would be to intimidate Nakoula. If Nakoula was handled differently because he was involved in a video the government doesn’t like, hat has first amendment implications.


To be fair, Reynolds didn’t mention Nazis, or “paramilitary type” officers.

In a just world the photo would be Joe Corzine of MF Global being dragged away at midnight by brown shirted officers at the behest of the Executive Office of the President.


Do all persons suspected of (minor) probation violations get hauled into the station at midnight? No. Only this one. Why?

That is the issue.


Hmm…as far as I know, any law enforcement officer can arrest a person for breaking their probation.

But so far there have been no arrests and nothing said about any probation violation.

Once a person is on probation, particularly for bank fraud, and he or she is embroiled in a firestorm that involves money, the police have a right to bring that person in for questioning. Where did he get the money to bankroll the movie? He was engaged in a check-kiting scheme. Did the money come from that? Is he still breaking the law by committing fraud? Did he use the computer and Internet to promote his movie? Did he use a computer and Internet to raise the funds for this sick movie? Those are enough reasons for the cops to bring him in.

Great and if that is the situation, that local law enforcement thinks something is fishy with the cash then fine, but however if it is politically motivated by his exercise of free speech, however repugnant, then it’s not ok probation or no. By the way does everyone who is on probation for financial crimes automatically get pulled in if they are involved in a business venture over a certain amount? I doubt it.

Chirpin’ with Jimmy Cricket again. What if the man was on probation for Internet chatting with kids? Would you oppose LEO taking him in for breaking probation requirements under that example?

In this case you mean? Yes because making this move wouldn’t seem to be a violation of any probation requirements. In general, not so much concerned. How about bringing him in for no violations? That ok with you?

If Nakoula was handled differently because he was involved in a video the government doesn’t like, hat has first amendment implications.

Ding ding ding! We have a winner! Mind you I can’t believe that Obama has any connection to this event so the whole screed was off point but there are obvious concerns to those who look at this without the partisan glasses.


First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.

Martin Niemöller (1892-1984)

The real issue here is that it seems that the government ordered this man taken into custody, with a large group of law enformcement officers at midnight…with a huge array of press, “who just happened” to be in the area. This man was arrested late at night, simply because he did something the government didn’t like…doesn’t anyone else other than EEllis understand why this is so huge?

He was taken into custody because he did something the government didn’t like…think long and hard about that. Forget the hyperbole, think about the fact that this man produced something covered under the 1st Amendment, that the government didn’t like and he was litterally dragged out of bed, in the dark of night to face “questions.”

That’s something I always thought totalitarian governments did. What would the press have said if this was done under Bush’s watch? Why the silence now? At this point, what’s to stop the government from doing that to the auther of this blog if he produces something the government doesn’t like? Who will speak up then? If I am not for me now, who will be for me then?

Ladies and gentlemen, think long and hard about the implications of this before you approve of it…because it can be turned upon you in the future…once a precedent is set, unless that precedent is shattered immediately…it can used against you…

holger danske

Your post and some of the comments display a dismal knowledge of the the federal probation system and how it works. Reynolds may only be a law professor but he was a practicing lawyer before that, so I’d give him some slack when it comes to this. Perhaps he didn’t spell out in detail why he and many lawyers are outraged by this incident.

Having spend some years working in criminal law let me try to briefly explain how probation works.
1 US Probation Services is an arm of the US Court system. They supervise probationers, they are not a law enforcement agency.
2 The officers pictured taking the film maker into custody were sheriff’s deputies not probation officers. They are law enforcement officers.
3 When a probation officer believes a probationer has violate the terms of his probation he files specifications/charges in the US Court before a magistrate.
If the magistrate agrees with the filing he may issue a warrant for the probationer to be brought before the court. This is the method used when the probationer is deemed a threat to society. That warrant is executed by the US Probation Services in the manner they see fit. Alternatively the probation officer simply calls the probationer and tells him to report to his office. The latter procedure is used routinely in white collar crimes, like our film maker’s situation.
4 Law enforcement cannot simply arrest/take into custody a probationer unless they have probable cause to believe he has committed a new crime. Sort of like the authority they have with every other person.
5 Unless a probationer is considered extremely dangerous the US Probation does not routinely seek the assistance of local law enforcement when executing a warrant. Its sort of a territorial/macho thing, you know.
6 It is not normal for a probationer who is not accused of a new crime to be hauled out of his house at midnight to be interviewed concerning a possible probation violation.
Anyone reading this and thinks he went ” voluntarily” is an idiot. The ensuing media circus simply added to the surreal nature of this sordid episode. Trying to make a film maker of an obscure four month old youtube clip the scapegoat for the administrations’ dismal foreign policy failures is disgraceful.
Such behavior does not and should not occur in America or any other free country. Try and picture George Bush trying to pull off this stunt.
Think about that for a while and if you have any sense you’ll understand Reynolds’ outrage.

T-STEEL, Site Administrator

Trying to make a film maker of an obscure four month old youtube clip the scapegoat for the administrations’ dismal foreign policy failures is disgraceful.

I agree with you holger that the film maker SHOULD NOT be the scapegoat. But I disagree that this was “dismal foreign policy” by this administration or any administration this would happen to, whether Democrat or Republican. What kind of foreign policy will stop a violent protest in a country outside of having our troops there (which is a whole other issue, essentially turning embassies into forts/outposts)? We could be having meaningful and productive dialog and protest could have happened. The extremists over there just don’t care. It’s a hearts and minds thing that we, the USA, can’t start. It requires visionary leaders in that part of the world in order to quell permanently.

Mark LaRochelle

Of course you are correct that if Nakoula violated the terms of his parole, he may face additional penalties. But surely moderates should be troubled by the facts of this incident. The administration blames the attacks on U.S. interests in the Middle East on a YouTube posting of a trailer of a film allegedly made by Nakoula, but it has provided no evidence to support this charge.

Libyan assembly leader Mohammed al-Megaryef said the attack on the consulate in Bengazi and assassination of Ambasador Stevens were in fact planned and meticulously executed. The Jerusalem Post reported that Egyptian Intelligence warned as early as September 4 that the group Global Jihad was planning attacks on U.S. embassies on the anniversary of 9/11. The Independent in London reported that senior diplomatic sources said the U.S. had credible information that U.S. missions may be targeted at least 48 hours before the attacks. Al-Qaeda claimed the attacks as revenge for the drone strike that killed its deputy leader Sheikh Abu Yahya al-Libi.

But even if these paramilitary attacks, involving rocket propelled grenades and assault weapons, were spontaneous lynch-mob reactions to the video, it is the lynch mob, and not the filmmaker, who is to blame.

If Nakoula were suspected of violating the terms of his probation, then his probation officer would have requested the municipal court in LA to bring him in for questioning; in this case, it was the FBI that asked the Sheriff’s office to bring him in. The involvement of the FBI suggests that this is about something other than a suspected parole violation. The notification of the media and the staging of the midnight raid suggests that something else is up.

Imagine that a filmmaker on parole for some past offense had made a film critical of Christianity, and that Christians had responded by launching paramilitary assaults, assassinating federal officials. Now imagine that a Bush or McCain or Romney administration responded by publicly blaming the filmmaker, rather than the attackers, and bringing the filmmaker in for questioning, in a media-circus midnight raid.

One would hope that we would all be alarmed. That’s what this is about. It doesn’t matter what you think of Obama or Islam or Nakoula or his film. What matters is that if we accept this treatment of Nakoula, the next administration may use this precedent to target you. That is something that should concern moderates.

holger danske

Perhaps I should have been clearer ,the dismal policy failure I’m referring to is the whole Benghazi consulate situation not Obama’s overall handling of foreign policy. The Libyan “leadership” admitted it had no control over the armed militias roaming the country. To place an unarmed or little armed band of diplomats in such an unprotected setting was a dismal failure in my opinion. For Ambassador Rice to make the talk show circuit and claim it was defended by private security is further insulting to one’s intelligence.
. This attack was not about the film yet the administration clings to that myth is face of mounting evidence to the contrary. The US media goes along with that claim. The only way to get a true picture of how the attack transpired is to rely of foreign papers and sources. Sad.

Robert P. Coutinho

EEllis and others, this has been SOP for the government ever since the Patriot Act passed. If Bush had been president, we might not have even heard of it (as we did not of many other immigrants). Why is anyone surprised? Obama did not reverse the Bush Adm. abuses, he doubled down on them.

M. Report

Three Hearts and Three Lions is the Coat of Arms of Holger Danske; Salute!

It does not matter who requested the favor, or whom it was meant to please;
It is an abuse of authority which has not been punished by L.A. or criticized
by the Feds, and it put a man’s life at risk by showing where he lives;


Defending this piece of ..is beyond my comprehension, I guess I am too old to understand this brave new world.

Brown shirts indeed. This guy conned everyone including the coproducers and knew if TJ and the like promoted it that it would lead to violence. That to me is inciting a riot , a crime in some jurisdictions..


As slamfu would say Tea(Tempest)Pot. The man wanted out of his house, since that hiding place had been discovered by reporters and was being beseiged. He’d probably broken the strictures of his parole by having anything to do with the internet. His attorneys had to have sheriff’s escort to get in during the afternoon to discuss his probation problems. The sheriff’s office came back, early in the morning after most of the reporters had gone and they thought it was safer (this guy is a real target for more than just Muslim fanatics) to bring him to the station VOLUNTARILY (which Mr. Reynolds either doesn’t believe or doesn’t want to believe) for an interview with the Probation office and then he disappeared into another hiding place someone has provided for him.

No middle of the night gestapo tactics here, simply a guy who did a stupid thing and is now paying for it and trying to hide out and hoping it will all blow over. But we won’t want any facts to interfere with the idea that heavy-handed nameless faceless CIA types are waiting to make any one of us disappear at the drop of a hat. Give me a break.