It turns out the U.S. might be doing more than just patrolling a no-fly zone over Libya: President Obama reportedly signed a secret order in the last two weeks that could allow a broad range of options for the CIA and other government agencies to act to help rebels against Muammar Gaddafi. That could include giving weapons and money to the rebels and various other tools—although the White House would have to sign off on specific activities. The government almost never confirms such orders, which it has reportedly also used in Yemen and elsewhere. With public debate swirling over whether it’s wise to arm rebels and suggestions that some might be al Qaeda-linked, the order could give Obama a backdoor method to aid the opposition movement.
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