Obama authorizes secret support for Libya rebels

 U.S. President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing the Central Intelligence Agency to conduct covert operations to help rebels in Libya, media reports said here on Wednesday.

Obama signed the order, known as the presidential “finding”, within the last two or three weeks, reported Reuters, quoting government sources.

But so far, there is no official response from the administration.

Obama, in his interview with U.S. television networks on Tuesday, did not rule out sending arms to Libyan rebels, while U.S. media and politicians are debating whether the country should arm them.

Libyan Rebels drive on the road as they leave Ras Lanouf, 250 km east of Sirte, central Libya, March 30, 2011. (Xinhua/Nasser Nouri

“I think it’s fair to say that if we wanted to get weapons into Libya, we probably could,” he said in the interview with ABC. “We’ re looking at all our options at this point.”

When asked by ABC host Diane Sawyer if the U.S. will send ammunition to rebels in Libya in a day or two, Obama refused to give any details, saying he would not talk about operations “at that level.”

Obama on Monday delivered a major speech defending his policy toward Libya, claiming the U.S. military intervention was to avoid civilian casualties in the North African country, and extending the goal to include regime change would be a “mistake.”

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