Obama has apparently told Congress that he’s sending troops to help the French in Mali. I just hope that’s really why they are going there and not on some secret mission to help John Brennan or something. Really, who knows with this president.
NBC NEWS – President Barack Obama has deployed American military personnel and drone aircraft to the African country of Niger, where they could be used to support a French counterterrorism mission in neighboring Mali.
Defense Department officials told NBC News that a first wave will include two Raptor surveillance drones and 250 to 300 military personnel, including remote pilots and security and maintenance crews. They are expected to arrive soon.
The officials stressed that the drones are meant for surveillance only. The White House has faced criticism for a legal memo concluding that the U.S. government can use drones to kill American citizens overseas in certain cases.
Besides helping the French in Mali, the drones could be used to provide intelligence on a growing Islamic militant threat throughout North and East Africa.
The president notified Congress on Friday under the War Powers Act, which requires him to tell Congress when heavily armed U.S. military personnel are newly deployed to a region or nation.
Obama told Congress that the U.S. military presence was under the consent of the government of Niger, and that they would “facilitate intelligence-sharing” with the French. He said that the American military personnel were armed for their own protection and security.