WASHINGTON - US intelligence operatives were on the ground in Libya before President Barack Obama signed a secret order authorizing covert support for anti-Gaddafi rebels, US government sources told Reuters.
The CIA personnel were sent in to contact opponents of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and assess their capabilities, two US officials said.
"They're trying to sort out who could be turned into a military unit and who couldn't," said Bob Baer, a former CIA case officer whose memoirs were turned into the Hollywood thriller "Syriana."
Baer said the US operatives most likely entered Libya on the ground through neighboring Egypt and are lightly equipped.
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