March 30th, 2011
06:35 PM ET

White House issues statement to decline comment on Libya development

WASHINGTON (CNN) – There are multiple reports out today that President Barack Obama has signed a "secret order" authorizing covert U.S. support for Libyan rebel forces.

According to Reuters:

Obama signed the order, known as a presidential "finding," within the last two or three weeks, according to four U.S. government sources familiar with the matter.

Such findings are a principal form of presidential directive used to authorize secret operations by the Central Intelligence Agency. This is a necessary legal step before such action can take place but does not mean that it will.

Meanwhile, ABC News is reporting that the finding doesn't "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."

In response to questions by the press on the reports, the White House issued the following statement from Press Secretary Jay Carney:

As is common practice for this and all Administrations, I am not going to comment on intelligence matters. I will reiterate what the President said yesterday – no decision has been made about providing arms to the opposition or to any group in Libya. We’re not ruling it out or ruling it in. We’re assessing and reviewing options for all types of assistance that we could provide to the Libyan people, and have consulted directly with the opposition and our international partners about these matters.

While CNN has not confirmed that Obama signed such a finding, John King reports that there is a CIA presence in Libya to help with "military and political understanding," and is gathering intelligence first hand from some of the opposition entities.

Topics: Libya • President Obama • The News

soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Fighting Bob

    Obama needs to get out of Libya. I voted for Obama but now I see that he is no better than Bush. At least Bush was competent. Now we are in another war. Secret agreements. CIA on the ground. Military hit squads in Afganistan with conduct and pictures worse than Abu Ghraib. This is the change Obama was talking about in his campaign?

    Time for Obama to go.

    March 30, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
  2. Liz Carter in Georgia

    I thought that was what the CIA did! That kind of thing has been going on in our government under the CIA for years. That's what they do! That's where 'intel' comes from; moving around oftentimes 'secretly' soliciting informational advantage for the US. What's the problem now? The CIA and the FBI have been doing this since forever; and PRESIDENTS have authorized them to do those missions, make those contacts, and make those meetings! You may ought to ask former CIA Director/former President George H W Bush!

    March 30, 2011 at 10:59 pm |
  3. Liz Carter in Georgia

    'At least Bush was competent'?!? Competent at what? If you claim OBAMA is no better than BUSH, who started to wars, and yet you say BUSH was competent, I guess you're really saying OBAMA is competent; and he is! In fact he's highly competent, thoughtful and strategic! SO WHY SHOULD HE GO? Seriously, if you really wanted someone just as competent as BUSH, you probably should've voted for McCAIN/PALIN! LOL!

    March 30, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
    • Jay in NC

      Liz, I think that is the most asinine argument you have ever made.

      March 31, 2011 at 4:49 am |
  4. Jay in NC

    Bombs that kill children, CIA giving arms to rebels, sounds more and more like Vietnam. Barry gave up on diplomacy.

    March 31, 2011 at 4:52 am |
  5. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Assinine? OK, but what are you talking about? OBAMA said no decision has been about providing arms to the opposition or any other group in LIBYA! VIETNAM? The only way you can claim that it's sounding more and more like VIETNAM, is that AMERICANS certainly didn't know what that mission was! We didn't know what the 'end game' was; exit strategy? What exit strategy? We demonstrated against it, but AMERICANS didn't get up on TV and publicly beatdown ALL those presidential decisions! We were over there 25 yrs!

    March 31, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  6. Liz Carter in Georgia

    You know good and well if PRESIDENT OBAMA had made the mistake of even dreaming about trying to use diplomacy in this LIBYAN CRISIS, you and the rest of the OBAMA antagonists and stonewallers would be on this blog and all over the news claiming he's 'trying to negotiate with a terrorist'! 'The UNITED STATES DOES NOT NEGOTIATE WITH TERRORISTS'! Hemakes us look weak'! He should've sent the military'! All sorts of belittling you all would have come up with! He's damned if he 'do', damned if he don't, with you!

    March 31, 2011 at 6:24 pm |