CIA links up with rebels in Libya

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Amid questions over whether al Qaeda is amongst Libya's rebels, the CIA has landed in the tumultuous North African country to provide them support, according to reports.

More than a dozen covert CIA operatives have already been sent to Libya to "lay the groundwork for funneling American aid to the insurgents," reports the National Journal.

The move follows President Barack Obama's signing of a secret order authorizing covert support for the rebels. The exact nature of the support is unclear, and any further covert operations require Congressional approval, reports Reuters.

In 2009 Obama gave a similar authorization for the expansion of covert U.S. counter-terrorism actions by the CIA in Yemen, Reuters reports. The White House does not normally confirm such orders have been issued.

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The small teams of CIA operatives are currently clustered primarily in eastern Libya, the de-facto rebel capital, according to the National Journal. In addition to making contact with the rebels, the covert operatives will perform more traditional CIA activities like intelligence gathering.

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