For the first time, President Obama has publicly acknowledged the United States has engaged in "direct action" against al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in Somalia and Yemen, telling Congress in a letter that the militants pose terrorist threats to "the United States and our interests," reports the New York Times. While the United States has been known to support Somalia and Yemen in their struggle against extremists, this is the first time officials have confirmed that US forces have been directly involved in some military operations. The report concerned only US military operations, not the CIA, notes AP.
"Going forward," said a Pentagon press secretary, "the American people should know that we will do what is necessary to defend our country against those who would threaten us." The unclassified part of yesterday's letter contained no details about the "limited number" of actions the US had taken, although more details were reportedly in the classified section. “While any voluntary disclosure is welcome, this is not much of a breakthrough,” said the head of a group critical of government secrecy. “The age of secret wars is over. They were never a secret to those on the receiving end.”