White House insists Libya action legal

Posted: June 15, 2011 in US News

Stephen Collinson
Associated Press
June 15, 2011

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama insisted Wednesday that the current US action in Libya did not violate US law, rejecting rising criticism in Congress over the legal grounding and goals of the operation.

In a 30-page report to Congress, the White House argued that the current US mission in the NATO-led assault on the forces of Moamer Kadhafi did not require congressional authorization as Washington was confined to a supporting role.

Senior Obama aides said the US involvement in the UN-authorized operation to protect civilians did not rise to the kind of direct, offensive warfare that needed to be endorsed by lawmakers under the 1973 War Powers Act.

“We are not engaged in any of the activities that typically over the years in war powers analysis has been considered to constitute hostilities within the meaning of the statute,” a senior administration official said.

“We are not engaged in sustained fighting, there has been no exchange of fire with hostile forces, we don’t have troops on the ground, we don’t risk casualties to those troops,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

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