CIA, British Special Forces Swarm Through Libya
By David Dayen
March 31, 2011 "FDL" - - This is an appropriately acerbic post from Matt Yglesias that can serve as a catch-up on events in Libya for those who missed it yesterday:
You can read more about the clandestine assistance from the New York Times or the LA Times or the National Journal. You’ll find that, in addition to CIA operatives, “dozens of British special forces and MI6 intelligence officers are working inside Libya.” They wear boots. And they’re on the ground.
I will say that, in that blogger call with deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes, he stated firmly, in response to my question, that one reason you cannot say that the coalition has become the air force for the Libyan opposition is that we weren’t coordinating anything on the ground with them. That was two days ago, and it’s entirely possible, I suppose, that Rhodes was kept in the dark about the actual coordination on the ground between the rebels and the CIA. It’s just not very likely that national security reporters know more than the deputy national security advisor. There’s also this from the LAT:
So I’m going to chalk that up to a point-blank lie. And a pretty obvious one; the fact that three days ago, nine loud explosions rocked Sirte, a city held by pro-Gadhafi forces, right as the rebels were seeking to breach the walls and take it over speaks to the close coordination here.
And yet, it hasn’t been enough. The CIA presence hasn’t been enough. The close air support, including attack helicopters, hasn’t been enough. The defection of key officials hasn’t been enough. There’s obviously a ways to go here, but the trajectory is not what the coalition would hope. And before too long, someone in one of these planning rooms is going to say that the rebels need more firepower. And someone else will say that they need trainers to whip their ragtag army into shape. And maybe some Special Forces guys, some actual fighters, ringers if you will. And maybe a battalion. But just one battalion. After all, Gadhafi’s a murderous despot…
Turd sandwich, indeed.