Intel agencies warned U.S. Embassy in Egypt of possible violencehttp://reut.rs/PBgYNM
Intel agencies warned U.S. Embassy in Egypt of possible violence
By Mark Hosenball and Tabassum Zakaria
WASHINGTON | Mon Sep 17, 2012 7:19pm EDT
(Reuters) - A U.S. intelligence cable warned the American Embassy in Cairo of possible violence in response to Arabic-language broadcasts of clips from an anti-Muslim film, U.S. government sources said on Monday.
The cable, dispatched from Washington on September 10, the day before protests erupted, advised the embassy the broadcasts could provoke violence. It did not direct specific measures to upgrade security, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
However, under standard diplomatic procedures, Egyptian government officials and security forces were notified of U.S. concerns, since host governments are responsible for ensuring the security of foreign diplomatic missions on their soil, the sources said.
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Copies of the cable were not sent to other U.S. outposts in the region, including the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, where violence took the life of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. The ties between the Benghazi violence and the crude anti-Muslim film are still unclear.
The sources said the cable, which is still classified, was sparked by the broadcast on Saturday, September 8 by al-Nas, an Egyptian satellite TV network, of what its presenters described as extracts from an English-language film denigrating the Prophet Mohammad.
That broadcast said the clips from the American film had been uploaded on the YouTube website by "migrant Coptics," a reference to exiled members of a Christian sect with a large minority presence among Egypt's Muslim majority.
The film, called "Innocence of Muslims," portrayed Mohammed as a womanizer, thug and child molester.
In the warning cable, intelligence officials in Washington advised the embassy in Cairo the film clips had been translated into Arabic and were being disseminated via social media.
CLIPS WENT VIRAL
On Tuesday morning, before the protests began, the embassy posted a statement on its Facebook page which, according to a senior U.S. official, condemned "the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims," a reference to the film.