Reuters is reporting that President Obama has already signed off on a presidential "finding"--i.e. an order--authorizing covert U.S. support for Libyan rebels. The order, which Reuters says was given "within the last two to three weeks" is described by the news service as the "principal form of presidential directive used to authorize secret operations by the Central Intelligence Agency" and is typically "crafted to provide broad authorization for a range of potential U.S. government actions to support a particular covert objective."
Update 2: National Journal's Yochi Dreazen reports "more than a dozen" CIA operatives have already been deployed to Libya. Their job will reportedly be to "vet the rebels working to oust Libyan strongman Muammar el-Qaddafi and lay the groundwork for potentially funneling American aid to the insurgents."
Update 1: What kind of covert objectives will the U.S. back in Libya? Hard to say, because they'll be covert. Previous orders have covered a wide range of activities. In 2007, The Daily Telegraph obtained details of a finding issued by George W. Bush that "authorized the CIA and other US intelligence agencies to fund anti-Hizbollah groups in Lebanon and pay for activists who support the Siniora government." That same year, ABC reported the White House had secretly approved a plan to disrupt Iran than consisted of "a coordinated campaign of propaganda, disinformation and manipulation of Iran's currency and international financial transactions."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.