U.S. Orders Covert Military Action in Mideast
Gen. David Petraeus, the head of U.S. Central Command, is said to have signed a directive authorizing Special Operations troops to conduct surveillance missions in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Somalia.
The Pentagon has approved a broader range of secret military operations against militant groups in the Middle East and Africa, officials said Monday, according to a published report.
The New York Times said Gen. David Petraeus, the head of U.S. Central Command, signed a directive in September authorizing Special Operations troops to conduct surveillance missions in such countries as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Somalia.
The document says the goals are to "penetrate, disrupt, defeat or destroy" militant groups, including Al Qaeda, and "prepare the environment" for future attacks. The Times said the document does not authorize offensive action.
Anonymous U.S. officials cited by the Times said the order does allow for intelligence-gathering missions in Iran, which could lay the groundwork for possible military action if tensions between the U.S. and Iran continue to rise.
The directive, called the Joint Unconventional Warfare Task Force Execute Order, does not describe specific missions, although the Times said it had withheld some details in response to Defense Department concerns over U.S. troop safety.
Some of the covert military operations that followed the secret order have been reported.
These include a September 2009 attack by helicopter-borne Special Operations Forces on a car carrying one of east Africa’s most wanted Al Qaeda militants, Kenyan-born Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan.
According to Reuters, Central Command has been positioning Reaper drones at a base in the Horn of Africa. Officials told the news agency the drones can be used against militants in Yemen and Somalia, and even against pirates who attack ships traversing the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.
"They (the drones) are part of it but it is much broader than that," one U.S. official told Reuters of the order.
This could be interesting. While the media will try and make it a pentagon Vs CIA It’s really not. Both produce different types of Intelligence and often work closely. Now my experiences with the CIA is very mundane. I’ve seen Operators work well and headquarters people very condescending to SF types. It’s probably the nature of the business. Turf wars will always be there to some degree.
Tactical intelligence is simply something covert military units do well. The CIA can take care of the strategic level stuff. I won’t comment on how good that is because frankly it’s too easy a shot and doesn’t reflect on the field guys who I believe are doing a pretty good job. Not counting the bombing of CIA operators at Forward Operating Base Chapman last December. There seems to be some issues there with the CIA base chief. I’m just not sure how they hire analyst.