In all seriousness, this really isn’t news:
The Central Intelligence Agency has inserted clandestine operatives into Libya to gather intelligence for military airstrikes and contact rebels battling Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces, according to American officials.
While President Obama has insisted that no American military ground troops participate in the Libyan campaign, 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, the officials said.
In addition to the C.I.A. presence, composed of an unknown number of Americans who had worked at the spy agency’s station in Tripoli and others who arrived more recently, current and former British officials said that dozens of British special forces and MI6 intelligence officers are working inside Libya. The British operatives have been directing airstrikes from British jets and gathering intelligence about the whereabouts of Libyan government tank columns, artillery pieces and missile installations, the officials said.
United States officials hope that similar information gathered by American intelligence officers — from the location of Colonel Qaddafi’s munitions depots to the clusters of government troops inside towns — might help weaken Libya’s military enough to encourage defections within its ranks.
In addition, the 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, according to United States government officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the classified nature of the activities. American officials cautioned, though, that the Western operatives are not directing the actions of rebel forces.A C.I.A. spokesman declined to comment.
The question is why is all the official confirmation coming out today? To gauge reaction domestically? Or to simply continue the FITD strategy and prepare us for the next step? “Well, it’s just a no-fly zone. And yeah, we are bombing his ground forces. And yeah, we’ve said all along Qaddafi has to go. And sure, we’ve had agents on the ground from the beginning. So yeah, arming the rebels…”