National Security Adviser Tom Donilon: U.S. Had ‘Good First Day’ of Operations in Libya

Mar 20, 2011 7:51pm

ABC News' David Kerley and Jon Garcia report: In an on the record, off-camera briefing, National Security Adviser Tom Donilon said the United States “had a very good first day” of operations against Moammar Gadhafi's forces in Libya.

On Gadhafi’s second declaration of a ceasefire, Donilon said, "It either isn't true or has already been violated," adding, we will "monitor his actions not just his words."

The White House expects this first phase of operations, which the U.S. is leading, to end later this week. The allies will take the lead but the U.S. will continue providing "unique capabilities" after transition. Those capabilities include electronic jamming, refueling, and intelligence, but Donilon would not "pinpoint" how long the secondary role will last.

It was during a noon time briefing in Brasilia Saturday that “the final orders were given” by President Obama.

The president had three briefings on Sunday and talked with Jordan’s King Abdullah on the phone. The longer-term efforts by the coalition will be aimed at proving Gadhafi “with choices,” and Donilon said they will continue to "squeeze him."

Speaker of the House John Boehner criticized the White House for not fully explaining its efforts in Libya. Donilon said that is “a fair request and we are doing it."

Donilon also had strong praise for the constitutional referendum in Egypt, calling it “a very significant event."

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