From Lauren Stephenson and Michelle Perry
There may not be boots -- but the CIA is reportedly on the ground in Libya, helping to direct airstrikes and gather intelligence on the rebels. House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell that's exactly what they are supposed to be doing.
Rogers, appearing on MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports" said he could not discuss classified material, but he did say he “would be shocked if we’re not participating in the collection of information.”
The Michigan Republican congressman said the CIA is "supposed to go to rough places and bad places and collect information -- so that policymakers, the president, the military, the Congress can make good decisions," not to be confused with the “wild speculation” he said was taking place today. Rogers believes the debate about whether or not to arm Libyan rebels and the CIA presence are “two very separate and distinct things.”
Rogers made clear he is against arming Libyan rebels, but he offered his support for the President Obama's decision to lead the coalition in the no-fly zone, "We can't lose sight of the fact that the no-fly zone saved tens of thousands of people."
Rogers said the reason he supported the no-fly zone early on was because of the chemical stockpile that Khaddafy possesses and the risk of it falling into the wrong hands, “You don’t want Al Qaeda armed with some really nasty stuff."
The chairman also expressed his determination to see Khaddafy unseated: "The worst thing you want to have happen ... is his forces full back. The commitment is made only to enforce the U.N. resolution, which means they can't do anything more, and you have a hunkered down Moammar Khaddafy who we know sponsored state terrorism and has bad weapons."