Monday, April 4, 2011

Did the WH leak covert information about CIA Operatives in Libya?

Last week Reuters quoted U.S. government officials as saying that American "intelligence operatives were on the ground in Libya before President Barack Obama signed a secret order authorizing covert support for anti-Gaddafi rebels."
The CIA personnel were sent in to contact opponents of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and assess their capabilities, two U.S. officials said...

One U.S. government source familiar with Libya policy said the Obama administration is considering plans under which U.S. special forces personnel experienced in training anti-Taliban forces in Afghanistan would work with CIA officers in efforts to organize and train Libyan opposition fighters.
Likewise, the New York Times [on March 30] quoted U.S. officials as saying that "small groups of C.I.A. operatives have been working in Libya for several weeks as part of a shadow force of Westerners that the Obama administration hopes can help bleed Colonel Qaddafi’s military..."
American spies are meeting with rebels to try to fill in gaps in understanding who their leaders are and the allegiances of the groups opposed to Colonel Qaddafi, said United States government officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the classified nature of the activities.
Some intelligence experts are questioning why the aforementioned classified information was leaked to the press:
They question whether the Obama Administration was putting the President’s political ambitions ahead of America’s national security.

A former senior CIA official speculated that “there was not one but a multitude of sources that leaked this information and it was done to prove they were tough.”

Another former CIA official went further and stated that, “They should have kept their big flapping mouth shut, and they said exactly the wrong thing. They said the CIA is there to collect information on the opposition to determine who the rebels are which makes the operatives job harder.” A former operative angrily noted that those officers on the ground have been compromised and now have to explain to the rebels that they are not collecting information about them...."

[One] former CIA official sarcastically noted “what part of covert doesn’t the administration understand?”
Incidentally, the New York Times, also reported the following eye-opener:
Several weeks ago, President Obama signed a secret finding authorizing the C.I.A. to provide arms and other support to Libyan rebels, American officials said Wednesday. But weapons have not yet been shipped into Libya, as Obama administration officials debate the effects of giving them to the rebel groups.

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