CIA activities in Libya

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Focused on the next six months after the coup that overthrew the monarchy, conclusions estimated: "likely developments in Libyan policy, particularly with regard to issues affecting US interests.

"The young captains and lieutenants who took over Libya four months ago want foreign military installations removed from Libya as soon as possible. Evacuation of the bases in a manner satisfactory to the Libyans will not guarantee good relations between Libya and the US, but any other outcome would seriously prejudice US interests. The members of the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) are also clearly determined to identify with the militant Arab line toward Israel. In these two desires, they reflect the prevailing mood in Libya itself, and any successor regime probably would follow similar policies.

"Beyond this, we know little concerning the policies of the RCC, and there seem to be potential sources of dissension within the group. Unsure of its own hold on power and lacking clear domestic policy objectives, it will be disposed to look for advice to other Arab countries--especially Egypt, with which the RCC leaders are developing close ties.

Oil operations in Libya netted the US balance of payments over $800 million in 1968... The RCC will press vigorously, and successfully, to increase its income from oil. Nationalization of oil production does not seem likely, but it cannot be entirely ruled out, in dealing with the oil companies, Libya holds a number of high cards.

The RCC probably will contribute financially to the Arab cause even more heavily than did the monarchy. It also may station token contingents of troops in Egypt and perhaps Jordan. If Egypt so desired, the RCC probably would agree to make Libyan airfields available to Egyptian aircraft. Over the longer run, it is possible that Soviet-manned reconnaissance aircraft in some guise might be permitted access to facilities in Libya. The circumstances under which such a contingency might arise will be more fully explored in NIE 11-6-70, "Soviet Policies in the Mediterranean Basin," scheduled for publication in the first quarter of 1970 Properly requested and conducted over flights and port visits by the Soviets would almost certainly be permitted; we doubt, however, that the Libyans would give the USSR access to military installations in Libya on anything like extraterritorial terms. See the NIE for additional detail.[1]


A global finding in 1981 orders CIA to take action against Muammar Gaddafi, who is thought to be distributing weapons to terrorists throughout Europe and Africa.


Intelligence analysis[edit]

In his Senate Intelligence Committee statement, Porter Goss described the status of Libya as a success story in nonproliferation[2] Goss said that Libya, by the end of 2004, had taken a number of significant steps it had promised:

  • Dismantling key elements of its nuclear weapons program and opened itself to the IAEA.
  • Giving up some key chemical warfare assets and opened its former CW program to international scrutiny.
  • After disclosing its Scud stockpile and extensive ballistic and cruise missile R&D efforts in 2003, Libya took important steps to abide by its commitment to limit its missiles to the 300-km range threshold of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).

The US continued to work with Libya to clarify some discrepancies in the declaration.

Libyan civil war[edit]

After the Arab Spring movement overthrew the rulers of Tunisia and Egypt, its neighbours to the west and east respectively, Libya had a major revolt beginning in February 2011.[3][4] In response, the Obama administration sent in CIA Special Activities Division paramilitary operatives to assess the situation and gather information on the opposition forces.[5][6][7]

During the early phases of the Libyan air strike offensive, paramilitary operatives assisted in the recovery of a U.S. Air Force pilot who had crashed due to mechanical problems.[8] There was also speculation in The Washington Post that President Obama issued a covert action finding in March 2011 that authorized the CIA to carry out a clandestine effort to provide arms and support to the Libyan opposition.[9]

Muammar Gaddafi was ultimately overthrown in the Libyan civil war.


  1. ^ "National Intelligene Estimate 36.5-69: Short-Term Prospects For Libya", Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969-1976, Volume E-5, Part 2, Documents on Africa, 1969-1972, United States Department of State, 30 December 1969, NIE 36.5-69, FRUS-50 
  2. ^ Goss, Porter (16 February 2005), Global Intelligence Challenges 2005 
  3. ^ "Live Blog – Libya , Al Jazeera Blogs". February 17, 2011. Retrieved February 23, 2011. 
  4. ^ "News ,t Libya February 17th ". Retrieved February 23, 2011. 
  5. ^ Allen, Bennett. "C.I.A. Operatives on the Ground in Libya , VF Daily". Vanity Fair. Retrieved May 19, 2011. 
  6. ^ Levinson, Charles (April 1, 2011). "Ragtag Rebels Struggle in Battle". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 19, 2011. 
  7. ^ Michael, Vicker. "The US Government Sent CIA / Blackwater Veteran To Fight With Rebels In Libya And Syria". Business Insider. Retrieved March 24, 2012. 
  8. ^ "UPDATED: Gates calls for limited role aiding Libyan rebels". The Daily Breeze. March 9, 2010. Retrieved May 19, 2011. 
  9. ^ Jaffe, Greg (March 30, 2011). "In Libya, CIA is gathering intelligence on rebels". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 19, 2011.