By Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr
The U.S. and NATO have been quietly talking to National Transitional Council officials for the last several weeks about securing Libya's remaining stockpiles of mustard gas and other weapons material in the event the Gadhafi regime fell, U.S. officials confirm. Topping the list of worries is Libya's stockpile of mustard gas.
"The opposition forces are being asked to keep track of what's going on" with both weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and the regime's inventory of surface-to-air missiles, a NATO official said.
"We have had direct eyes on the storage facilities" of the WMD for some time, the official said, including the use of satellites, drones and other surveillance aircraft.
By Larry Shaughnessy
As the rebels in Libya push closer to ending the Moammar Gadhafi regime, US warplanes have been increasing their attacks on government positions.
New numbers released by the Pentagon Monday show that the number of US air attacks on Libyan air defenses, ground forces and other targets has nearly doubled over the past 12 days, compared to air attacks in the first 132 days of the NATO mission, from a rate of 1.7 strike sorties a day from April 1st to Aug. 10th to 3.1 strike sorties in the last 12 days.
The total US air attacks includes strikes by Armed Predator unmanned planes. The Pentagon release says those have more than doubled to 1.4 attacks per day, compared to .6 attacks per day between April 1st and Aug. 10th
The cost to the US taxpayers for America’s share of the Libyan mission, which is formally called Operation Unified Protector, is approaching 1 billion dollars.
As of June 30th the most recent figures available, DoD had spent approximately $820 million. The US had also sold its allies and partners in Operation Unified Protectors more than $220 million worth of ammunition, spare parts and fuel.
The DoD was also authorized to deliver up to $25 million worth of non-lethal aid to Libyan civilians, so for it has used about $12.5 million of that authority by shipping Meals-Ready-To-Eat, boots, tents, uniforms and protective gear.
The DoD was able to tap its own stockpiles for this aid.
The Pentagon said that since June, it has received no more requests for more non-lethal aid to be sent to Libyan rebels or civilians.
John Miller talks to CNN for his first TV interview since leaving his role as Deputy Director of National Intelligence.
BY CNN Wire Staff
Top U.S. officials closely monitored the apparent collapse of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's government Monday, expressing concern that forces loyal to the longtime strongman might launch a last-ditch offensive against that country's civilian population.
"There is reason to believe (Gadhafi) remains in Libya" and may still be able "to issue orders" to his troops through a limited communications network, a U.S. official told CNN.
NATO authorities expressed a similar concern.
"If there is a last-ditch effort we want to protect civilians," a senior NATO official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of sensitive intelligence matters.
CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty
Up until the last minutes before the rebel offensive on Tripoli began, senior Libyan officials close to Muammar Gadhafi were trying to reach out to the United States in a desperate attempt to stop the "inevitable," a senior State Department official told CNN Monday. '
In a telephone interview from Cairo Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman said that, until Saturday night, six officials with whom the United States had previous contact were still trying to reach out to the Obama administration but were taking a "defiant" approach, saying they were ready to negotiate but it would not be about Gadhafi leaving.
"It hinted to us that there's a sense of desperation," Feltman, who leads State Department efforts on Libya and who was in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi over the weekend, said, "that they're trying all channels to reach us, that the balance was tipping on behalf of the rebels or why would these people be so desperate to find us?"
"I think they were looking for a way to find a lifeline, buy time, to prevent what was then becoming inevitable, which was the uprising in Tripoli," he said.