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White House Vows Full Explanation for US Involvement in Libya

VOA News June 15, 2011

In Washington, the Obama administration is vowing to soon give a full explanation and justification for the continued U.S. military involvement in the Libyan conflict.

White House officials said late Tuesday they are preparing to "address a whole host of issues" about the U.S. role in NATO's mission to support Libyan rebels as they attempt to oust Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. The White House said its report would include a legal analysis showing it acted properly in complying with the country's 1973 law designed to curb presidential war-making authority.

The leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, John Boehner, sent a letter to President Barack Obama earlier Tuesday sharply criticizing the chief executive's actions in authorizing the U.S. role in Libya without seeking congressional authorization.

The 1973 War Powers Act calls for the president to notify congressional leaders within 48 hours of U.S. military actions. It also prohibits U.S. forces from being involved in military efforts for more than 60 days without congressional authorization, and includes an additional 30-day withdrawal period.

Boehner said that the 90 days expires on Sunday and that he wants an explanation by Friday.

Obama notified Congress in March of his decision to take military action in Libya, but did not seek congressional approval. The White House has regularly briefed congressional lawmakers about the U.S. role in Libya.

NATO is commanding the airstrikes against Gadhafi's troops and military installations. But the U.S. has had a key support role, including aerial refueling of warplanes, as well as provision of intelligence and surveillance for the operation.

Also Tuesday, Democratic Senator Carl Levin of Michigan told reporters a proposed Senate resolution authorizing limited U.S. involvement in Libya could be considered by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee later this week.

Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona said such a resolution should require the Obama administration to report to Congress on all aspects of the Libya mission.



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