Pentagon: Secret U.S. military commandos deployed to Libya

Classified United States military units are operating in the region near Libya since the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, according to the director of operations for the Pentagon’s Joint Staff.

The disclosure that secret U.S. military forces were dispatched to Libya recently was revealed in a letter sent Wednesday to the House Armed Services Committee by Vice Adm. Kurt Tidd, director of operations for the Pentagon’s Joint Staff.

Tidd said that after the attack in Benghazi, the U.S. European Command sent a Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team (FAST) platoon to reinforce security at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli.

“Additional classified capabilities were deployed to the region,” Tidd said, in what other defense officials said was a reference to the deployment of special operations commandos.

Tidd was responding to a letter from Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R., Calif.) about whether the military recommended bolstering security in Libya prior to the Sept. 11 attack that killed U.S. ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

A U.S. official would not provide details on the classified unit in the region but said it includes elite U.S. special operations commandos trained for counter terrorism missions, like the Navy’s Seal Team Six, known formally as the Naval Special Warfare Development Group.

The CIA also is said to be secretly setting up covert armed aerial drone units in the country.

The U.S. military also has been working with the remnants of the Libyan military’s special operations forces as the new provisional government seeks to set up a central military and reduce the control of the large number of heavily armed militias, many of them Islamist-run, around the country.

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