Gates: No ground troops in Libya "while I am in this job"

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Boots on the ground in Libya?

“Not as long as I am in this job.”

Train and support the rebels?

“My view would be, if there is going to be that kind of assistance to the opposition, there are plenty of sources for it other than the United States,” said Defense Secretary Robert Gates. “Somebody else should do that.”

AP reports: Amid a congressional grilling of an ill-defined mission to aid a rebel force that officials know little about, Gates and Joint Chiefs chairman Adm. Mike Mullen sketched out a largely limited role for the U.S. military going forward.

Of course, U.S. officials have acknowledged that the CIA has small teams of operatives in Libya and helped rescue a crew member of a U.S. fighter jet that crashed. The CIA’s precise role in Libya is not clear, reports suggest the CIA could be identifying targets for airstrike, training rebels and assessing their strength in case President Obama decides to arm them.

Gates declined to comment on the CIA activities in Libya.

[via Associated Press], NPR, NYT]

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