WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing covert US government support for rebel forces seeking to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, government officials told Reuters on Wednesday.
Obama signed the order, known as a presidential "finding", within the last two or three weeks, according to four US government sources familiar with the matter.
Such findings are a principal form of presidential directive used to authorize secret operations by the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA and the White House declined immediate comment.
News that Obama had given the authorization surfaced as the President and other US and allied officials spoke openly about the possibility of sending arms supplies to Gaddafi's opponents, who are fighting better-equipped government forces.
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