Six weeks after the Libyan revolt began and two weeks after the U.N. Security Council authorized a no-fly zone and the U.S. and others intervened on behalf of the rebels, the Obama administration has decided it had better find out who its new allies are. The Washington Post reports:
The Obama administration has sent teams of CIA operatives into Libya in a rush to gather intelligence on the identities and capabilities of rebel forces opposed to Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi, according to U.S. officials.
The information has become more crucial as the administration and its coalition partners move closer to providing direct military aid or guidance to the disorganized and beleaguered rebel army.
As I say, better late than never. The administration acknowledges that there are Islamic extremists among the rebels:
Several lawmakers briefed by Clinton, Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said they were told that the United States is still trying to put together a full picture of the Libyan rebellion but believes that it does not contain large numbers of radical Islamic militants. …
The CIA’s efforts represent a belated attempt to acquire basic information about rebel forces that had barely surfaced on the radar of U.S. spy agencies before the uprisings in North Africa.
If the Keystone Kops undertook to run foreign policy, they would be less disorganized than the Obama administration.