U.S. president authorizes covert ops in Libya - media
U.S. President Barack Obama has a signed a secret order authorizing covert operations in support of Libyan rebels fighting to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi's regime, the ABC News reported.
The United States is among 13 countries carrying out a military operation against Libya in line with the UN Security Council resolution 1973, which imposed a no-fly zone over Libya and authorized "all necessary measures" to protect civilians from Gaddafi's attacks on rebel-held towns, RIA Novosti reported.
"The presidential finding discusses a number of ways to help the opposition to Muammar Gaddafi, authorizing some assistance now and setting up a legal framework for more robust activities in the future," the ABC News said Wednesday citing an unidentified source.
According to ABC News, the order "does not direct covert operatives to provide arms to the rebels immediately, although it does prepare for such a contingency and other contingencies should the president decide to go down that road in the future."
The report comes amid a debate among coalition members on whether to supply the Libyan rebels with sophisticated weaponry as they are being pushed back by forces loyal to Gaddafi.
The White House press office did not comment on the report but said: "We're assessing and reviewing options for all types of assistance that we could provide to the Libyan people."
Although international airstrikes have neutralized Gaddafi's air force and pounded his armor, rebel forces still lack weaponry and organization to fight the loyalists effectively.