Politics & Policy

BREAKING: CIA Aiding Rebels in Libya

From the New York Times:

 

The Central Intelligence Agency has inserted clandestine operatives into Libya to gather intelligence for military airstrikes and make contacts with rebels battling Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces, according to American officials.

While President Obama has insisted that no American ground troops join in the Libyan campaign, small groups of C.I.A. operatives have been working in Libya for several weeks and are part of a shadow force of Westerners that the Obama administration hopes can help set back Colonel Qaddafi’s military, the officials said.

The C.I.A. presence comprises an unknown number of American officers who had worked at the spy agency’s station in Tripoli and those who arrived more recently. In addition, current and former British officials said, dozens of British special forces and MI6 intelligence officers are working inside Libya. The British operatives have been directing airstrikes from British Tornado jets and gathering intelligence about the whereabouts of Libyan government tank columns, artillery pieces, and missile installations, the officials said.

By meeting with rebel groups, the Americans hope to fill in gaps in understanding who the leaders are of the groups opposed Colonel Qaddafi, and what their allegiances are, according to United States government officials speaking only on condition of anonymity because the actions of C.I.A. operatives are classified. The C.I.A. has declined to comment. 

The United States and its allies in the NATO-led military intervention have scrambled over the last several weeks to gather detailed information on the location and abilities of Libyan infantry and armored forces, intelligence that normally takes months of painstaking analysis.

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