Here's a Timeline of the Confusing Statements on Libya and Egypt

Updated 3:53 p.m.

If you weren't following this story closely as it developed over the past day and woke to news of the murder of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya and a group of swirling charges around the U.S. response to September 11 protests against the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, here's who said what and when (all times are Eastern Standard):

7/1/12. Self-described California real-estate developer and self-described Israeli Jew Sam Bacile releases a 13-minute trailer for "The Real Life of Muhammad," an amateurishly produced anti-Islam movie allegedly made with donations from 100 Jews. (Serious questions have been raised about details of Bacile's identity as he has described it to reporters, as well as whether there is any full length film at all.)

9/9/12. The Grand Mufti of Egypt, Ali Gomaa, condemns the film, word of which has reached Cairo, pointing a finger at "the actions undertaken by some extremist Copts who made a film offensive to the Prophet." Coptic Christians are the largest religious minority in Egypt, and American Coptic activist Morris Sadek was involved in promoting the film, which shows Christians being attacked by Muslims. "The attack on religious sanctities does not fall under this freedom," he said of freedom of speech, according to reports in English-language Arab media outlets.

9/10/12. Florida Rev. Terry Jones releases a YouTube announcing he'll screen Bacile's anti-Islam trailer as part of turning the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on America into "International Judge Mohammad 'Mo' Day."

In June, Jones hanged Obama in effigy at his Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, leading to a Secret Service investigation. He's best known for his threat to burn Korans to mark the Sept. 11 anniversary, which sparked protests in Afghanistan in 2010 and led Gen. David Petraeus to warn ABC News that Jones's plan could "endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort here," and then burning a Koran in 2011, leading to riots in Afghanistan.

5:53 a.m., 9/11/12. Shortly before noon local time, @USEmbassyCairo tweets: "Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy," according to a screenshot captured by @NYCSouthpaw.

6:11 a.m., 9/11/12. @USEmbassyCairo tweets: "US Embassy condemns religious incitement" with a link to a statement, according to another @NYCSouthpaw screenshot. The statement "U.S. Embassy Condemns Religious Incitement" was posted on the Embassy of the United States Cairo, Egypt website in response to Egyptian media accounts of the film, though without a specific time-stamp:

The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims -- as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.

Selected sentences from the statement were also tweeted out by embassy staff.

11 a.m. 9/11/12. At 5 p.m. local time in Cairo, demonstrators begin to assemble outside the U.S. Embassy. According to an Egyptian newspaper, "Roughly 2000 Salafist activists answered a call on Tuesday by Wesam Abdel-Wareth, a Salafist leader and president of Egypt's Hekma television channel, to protest 'Muhammad's Trial' - a US-made film which, critics say, insults Islam's Prophet Mohammed - at 5pm in front of the US embassy in Cairo." (h/t Matt Vasilogambros) According to the New York Times:

In Cairo, thousands of unarmed protesters had gathered outside the American embassy during the day. By nightfall, some had climbed over the wall around the embassy compound and destroyed a flag hanging inside. The vandals replaced it with a black flag favored by ultraconservatives and militants and labeled with the most basic Islamic profession of faith: "There is no god but God, and Muhammad is his prophet." Embassy guards fired guns into the air, but a large contingent of Egyptian riot police officers on hand to protect the embassy evidently did not use their weapons against the crowd, and the protest continued, largely without violence, into the night.

4:47 p.m., 9/11/12. @USEmbassyCairo tweets: "As Spokesperson Nuland said, protestors breached our wall and took down flag. Thanks for your concern and kind wishes."

5:58-59 p.m., 9/11/12. @USEmbassyCairo tweets in three parts: "1) Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. 2) Of course we condemn breaches of our compound, we're the ones actually living through this. 3) Sorry, but neither breaches of our compound or angry messages will dissuade us from defending freedom of speech AND criticizing bigotry."

6 p.m., 9/11/12. Stand Up America Now begins a livestream of Jones' anti-Muslim presentation online.

6:30 p.m., 9/11/12. @USEmbassyCairo tweets: "This morning's condemnation (issued before protests began) still stands. As does condemnation of unjustified breach of the Embassy." This tweet is later deleted.

7:51 p.m., 9/11/12. Reuters, citing Libyan government sources, reports "An American staff member of the U.S. consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi has died following fierce clashes at the compound."

10:09 p.m., 9/11/12. The Romney campaign releases a statement "embargoed until midnight tonight" from Mitt Romney condemning the administration and the attacks: "I'm outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It's disgraceful that the Obama Administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks." The U.S. Embassy statement from Cairo was issued before the attack in Libya.

Presented by

Garance Franke-Ruta is a former senior editor covering national politics at The Atlantic.

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