31.3.2011 BBC News: 31 March 2011
LIBYA: Covert assistance authorised
On Wednesday night, it was revealed that President Barack Obama had
secretly authorised covert assistance to rebels seeking to overthrow
Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi.
In recent weeks, he signed a document known as a "finding", allowing
support to the rebel groups, US media reported.
Such "findings" are a common way for the president to authorise covert
operations by the CIA.
The New York Times, citing American officials, said the CIA has had
operatives on the ground in Libya for several weeks. They were gathering
intelligence for air strikes and making contact with the forces fighting Col
Gaddafi, the paper said, adding that British intelligence and special forces
were also involved.
The Associated Press news agency, quoting a US official and former US
intelligence officer, said small teams of CIA operatives had been sent into
Libya after the agency's station in the capital, Tripoli, was forced to close.