Sources tells ABC News that President Obama has signed a secret presidential finding authorizing covert operations to “aid the effort” in Libya, where the US is working with NATO, and Arab partners to enforce a no-fly zone, protect civilians, and encourage Col. Moammar Gadhafi to step down from power.
The finding discusses a number of ways to help the opposition in Libya, authorizing some assistance now and setting up a legal framework for more robust activities in the future.
The finding does NOT direct covert operatives to provide arms to the rebels right now, though it does prepare for such a contingency and other contingencies should the president decide to go down that road in the future.
White House press secretary Jay Carney issued a statement this evening noting that as is "common practice for this and all Administrations, I am not going to comment on intelligence matters."
Carney reiterated what President Obama said yesterday, that "no decision has been made about providing arms to the opposition or to any group in Libya. We’re not ruling it out or ruling it in. We’re assessing and reviewing options for all types of assistance that we could provide to the Libyan people, and have consulted directly with the opposition and our international partners about these matters."
The presidential finding was first reported by Reuters’ Mark Hosenball.