Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Military Space News .

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

US, Britain insert covert agents into Libya: reports

by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) March 30, 2011
The United States and Britain have inserted covert intelligence agents into Libya to make contact with rebels and to gather data to guide coalition air strikes, a report said Wednesday.

The White House refused to comment on the apparent shadow war in Libya, and also declined to discuss another report that President Barack Obama had signed a secret order allowing Central Intelligence Agency operations in the country.

A senior US official did, however, warmly welcome the defection to Britain of Libyan Foreign Minister Mussa Kussa, interpreting his flight as a sign that Moamer Kadhafi's inner circle was beginning to crumble under massive pressure.

The New York Times said the CIA had inserted clandestine agents into Libya to gather data for airstrikes and establish links with rebels, who Wednesday lost a swathe of captured territory to Kadhafi loyalists.

Obama has insisted no American ground troops will be deployed in the bid to shield civilians in Libya. But the Times said small groups of American covert agents had been conducting missions inside Libya for several weeks.

It also cited current and former British officials as saying dozens of British special forces and MI6 secret intelligence service agents were also on the ground in Libya collecting data on government forces and weaponry.

ABC News, meanwhile, reported that Obama's presidential order, or "finding", authorized covert CIA operations to "aid the effort" in Libya.

Such presidential orders set down a legal framework for conducting covert actions and would generally be required before the launch of clandestine missions.

White House spokesman Jay Carney declined to confirm or deny the reports, citing "common practice" not to comment on intelligence matters.

"I will reiterate what the president said yesterday -- no decision has been made about providing arms to the opposition or to any group in Libya. We're not ruling it out or ruling it in," said Carney.

"We're assessing and reviewing options for all types of assistance that we could provide to the Libyan people, and have consulted directly with the opposition and our international partners about these matters."

Experts and former US military officers say bombing raids almost always require clandestine "eyes on the ground," with forward air controllers from special forces or intelligence agencies pointing out targets for warplanes.

This was the case in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, Bosnia and other conflicts, they said.

Intense debate is taking place within the administration, in Congress and between the United States and its coalition partners over the idea of arming rebels in Libya.

Some opponents worry about the leanings of some fighters, especially since NATO's top commander Admiral James Stavridis said Tuesday that while most rebels were "responsible," some showed "flickers" of Al-Qaeda or Hezbollah sympathies.

Senior Obama administration officials have said for several days that senior Kadhafi cohorts knew he was on borrowed time and were beginning to consider their positions, but there had been little evidence to support their claims.

But their hopes that Kadhafi's regime could fall got a huge boost late Wednesday with the dramatic flight to Britain by Kussa, a former Libyan intelligence chief, who said he was resigning.

"This is a very significant defection and an indication that people around Kadhafi think the writing's on the wall," a senior US administration official said on condition of anonymity.

The Obama administration, meanwhile, pressed on with its effort to justify and explain its tactics in the Libyan mission.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and the top uniformed US officer, Admiral Mike Mullen, conducted classified briefings on Capitol Hill.

Many lawmakers, especially Republicans, have complained they were not sufficiently consulted about the Libya operation before Obama launched it two weeks ago and have raised sharp questions about US strategy.

Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services committee, said the question of possibly arming Libyan rebels needed deep thought.

"It needs cautious consideration and this administration has proceeded with caution generally and I'm sure they will on this one as well," he said.

Influential Democratic Senator John Kerry told AFP that it was clear that the hard-pressed rebels needed "need some kind of assistance."

Share This Article With Planet Earth DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook

Related Links

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Years of Franco-Qatari cooperation in practice over Libya
Souda, Greece (AFP) March 31, 2011
Brought together by a common cause and a shared experience, French and Qatari fighter crews are flying joint missions out of Greece to enforce the UN-mandated no-fly zone over Libya. A section of the Greek base of Souda on the island of Crete has now become home for the two nations' pilots and some 300 personnel helping to keep up twice-daily sorties in Libyan airspace against Moamer Kadhafi ... read more

Israel to deploy four more 'Iron Dome' anti-rocket defences

LockMart Awarded THAAD Production Contract

Israeli port city gets Iron Dome anti-rocket system

LockMart Huntsville Integrated Test Center To Support For Missile Defense

MDA Awards Raytheon Contract For New SM-3 Block IB

Multipurpose HELLFIRE II 'Romeo' Strikes Target

Rocket slams into Israel city as Gaza violence spirals

Taiwan missile test flops again

AeroVironment Global Observer Experiences Mishap During Extended Duration Flight Testing

Euro Hawk Undergoes Testing At Edwards AFB

Northrop Grumman Ships First Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Fuselage

Northrop Grumman Submits Final Proposal For NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance

Global Military Communications Market In 2010

Raytheon BBN Technologies To Protect Internet Comms For Military Abroad

Gilat Announces New Military Modem For Robust Tactical Satcom-On-The-Move

Advanced Emulation Accelerates Deployment Of Military Network Technologies

LockMart Rolls Out First Special Operations MC-130J Combat Shadow II

Picatinny Fields First Precision-Guided Mortars To Troops In Afghanistan

PEO Ammo Picks Up 155mm Lightweight Howitzer Program

S. American security firms heavily armed

Gurkas in first wave of British military job cuts

China's industry working with military

US freezes arms shipments to Lebanon: report

Australian Defense Industry Expected To Grow

Commentary: Celebrity diplomacy

ASEAN disunity weakening China relations

Outside View: Illusions, delusions of war

Tsunami washes away hopes for Japan's young

Scientists Build World's First Anti-Laser

Yale scientists build 'anti-laser'

'Air laser' could find bombs at a distance

ONR Achieves Milestone In Free Electron Laser Program

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement