White House: Military is fighting terrorism in Somalia and Yemen
Damaged houses near Zinjibar where Yemeni forces battled al Qaeda linked militants
June 15th, 2012
07:47 PM ET

White House: Military is fighting terrorism in Somalia and Yemen

By Pam Benson

For the first time, the Obama administration has publicly stated that U.S. military forces are engaged in direct action against suspected terrorists in Yemen and Somalia.

In a letter to Congress on Friday, President Barack Obama informed lawmakers of U.S. military actions in the two nations that have seen significant terrorist activity and civil unrest.

On Somalia, the president stated, "In a limited number of cases, the U.S. military has taken direct action in Somalia against members of al Qaeda, including those who are also members of al-Shabaab, who are engaged in efforts to carry out terrorist attacks against the United States and our interests."

Obama noted that U.S. forces have been working with Yemen to dismantle al Qaeda's powerful affiliate there.

"Our joint efforts have resulted in direct action against a limited number of AQAP (al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) operatives and senior leaders in that country who posed a terrorist threat to the United States and our interests," Obama wrote.

The War Powers Resolution of 1973 requires the White House to periodically inform Congress about American military forces who are deployed overseas for possible combat.

The disclosure comes at a time when the administration is fighting off accusations that it deliberately leaked classified information about its national security efforts for political gain. Recent reports revealed the administration's decision-making process in targeting terrorists for missile strikes, a U.S. cyber attack against an Iranian nuclear facility, and a mole inside al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula who helped thwart a bomb plot intended to strike an airliner headed for the United States.

A senior administration official denied the disclosure had anything to do with the leaks issue.

"In light of the significant political developments that have taken place in Yemen and Somalia over the last six months, the administration took a careful look at whether these facts should remain classified," the official said. "Mindful of this balance, and after a careful evaluation to ensure disclosure of this information could not in any way harm U.S. national security or jeopardize the safety of the American people, the administration has decided that we can publicly disclose the fact that the U.S. military has taken direct action in Yemen and Somalia against members of al Qaeda and its associated forces."

Pentagon spokesman George Little said the information on the Yemen and Somalia actions were made public because of "their growing significance in our overall counterterrorism effort."

He added: "the American people should know that we will do what is necessary to defend our country against those who would threaten us."

U.S. military actions in Somalia and Yemen have been alluded to in the past.

Then CIA Director Leon Panetta would not discuss specific U.S. military operations during his confirmation hearing last year to become Secretary of Defense, but he did say, "I think our approach has been that because of these nodes that have developed, our approach has been to - to develop operations in each of these areas that will contain al Qaeda and go after them so that they have no place to escape. So that, we are doing that in Yemen. ... Same thing is true for Somalia."

The administration has tried to be more open about its counterterrorism activities. Obama's top counterterrorism adviser John Brennan gave a detailed explanation this spring about the use of drones to fight terrorism.

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Filed under: AQAP • Barack Obama • Congress • Military • Obama • Panetta • Somalia • Terrorism • Yemen
soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. Uatin Feelaw

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    August 6, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Reply
  2. Jaimie

    Love those drones. The US military probably has advisors on the ground including foot soldiers to train and show them how to fight as well as fighting side by side.

    July 7, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Reply
  3. JayBee

    I wish someone would let us know the full extent of military operations we are conducting in Yemen and Somalia. Through the news its pretty obvious that drone strikes are occuring. But I'm wondering if we have combat boots on the ground engaging AQ in certain cases.

    June 21, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Reply
  4. TJ

    What Rick said.....

    June 18, 2012 at 11:22 am | Reply
  5. Jaimie

    But it works...................................................

    June 17, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Reply
  6. Denverboy

    Yes ...but are we defending OUR Nation against terrorist or the Nation of Saudi Arabia....at our exspense..How do we end up fighting there wars and then turn around and PAY FOR OIL...I just dont get it..Dont we sell the Saudi's weapons cannot they HELP fight the conflicts in there own BACKYARD...Are we not sick and tired of putting our Men and Women in Harms way for people that....Just love us for our MONEY...They will turn on us anyway..as soon as our attention is upon another conflict ...Everything we have done since 9/11 has been a band aid ...Iraq proved when you have the HOME FEILD advantage...You can wait...actualy that was VIET-NAM...where that lesson was learned..but not taken into context....We have to do something besides what we are doing...because playing tag with the terroist all over the globe...well is NOT WORKING...Nothing is getting done ....

    June 17, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Reply
    • YoungMarine

      You must not know that when we were fight saddam saddi Arabia let us station stealth fighters and soilders in THIER country to attack Iraq so yes they do help

      June 17, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Reply
    • rick

      in your mind nothing is being accomplished but considering the amount of information you are privy to, your opinion is quite unimportant

      June 18, 2012 at 9:19 am | Reply
  7. SweetOlBob

    I am not one for allowing the U.S. to be pushed around anywhere in the world, but has anyone noticed that if our troops are present on the ground here that the Slimey Little Liar has just involved us in another conflict all by himself ?
    I'll bet that they will be deployed wherever the muslim brotherhood needs help in establishing a sharia driven society. Any takers ?

    June 17, 2012 at 11:38 am | Reply
  8. Bill Johnson

    I think that if the Cole had not been sent in there those kids would still be alive. As a retired Navy veteran I have always known that Yemen was a den of thieves (A HOLE), if you have ever been there you know a ship is a sitting duck! I hope whoever was COMIDEASTFOR was fired, all the Cole need was a oiler for replentishment. It is a dirty shame...

    June 17, 2012 at 7:06 am | Reply
    • Willie12345

      Face up to it, Bill. Neither the USS Cole nor any other of our military ships have or ever had any real business in Yemen. Sending ships in places like this is only asking for trouble bigtime! Would you like it if China sent it's military ships to California? I think not.

      June 17, 2012 at 9:50 am | Reply
    • Chris

      @Willie12345 Have you served in the Marine Corps or NAVY? If not how do you know what business we are conducting in ports such as Yemen? I served 8 years in the Marine Corps and was part of several MEU's and if I had a dime for everything you civilians didn't know about what we do overseas I wouldn't have reenlisted I would have just retired. We make port calls in places like Yemen because we are either invited or have an agreement with them, we don't just show up and say "Hey we are the U.S. and we are going to just use this port no matter if you like it or not" but nooooooo civilians just think we pull up and take over but you don't realize is how many countries so no you can't port here or you can port here but not with a nuclear carrier and no subs ect.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:13 am | Reply
  9. Willie12345

    Barack Obama a man of peace? He murdered more people than all the members of the Chicago mobs put together both past and present! He'll probably beat the number the Mafia did if reelected in the next 4 years than the Mafia did in it's 750 years of existance! So please don't call this killer Obama a man of peace as nothing could be further from the truth!!!

    June 16, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Reply
    • Leif

      Fine, Willie, I won't. I will call him a warrior President who has taken the fight to the real enemy, unlike G.W. Bush.
      I will vote for Obama again because of it.

      June 17, 2012 at 5:37 am | Reply
      • Willie12345

        Tell me Lief, do you also admire Al Capone for the 1929 St.Valentines day massacre? He also "took the fight to the enemy". You must like criminals, I don't either in or out of office!

        June 17, 2012 at 9:45 am |
  10. Onikami

    muslims brought this on themselves by trying to remain in the 12th century. not all americans want forces in the middle east. personally i would rather you all killed yourselves or bring a stand up fight and get your selves whupped like men. instead you try to attack us side ways and just stir-up the bee's nest. in the end america will remain uninvaded and safe from almost everythimg but nukes and bio weapons. personally fanatical islam just started their enslavement to russia china. have fun being commies!!

    June 16, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Reply
  11. tonny2

    america is anti christ, so they need more muslim blood thats what thier satanic freemason order them to do they should continue they will see the way almighty GOD will destroy their nation

    June 16, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Reply
    • YoungMarine

      God didn't creat man, man created god

      June 17, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Reply
    • rick

      ooooooooooooooooo "anti christ", have a little hyperbole with that hookah!

      June 18, 2012 at 9:21 am | Reply
  12. Catharsis

    Obama – a man of peace – the open hand of friendship – the Nobel Peace Prize

    haw haw haw

    June 16, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Reply
  13. wbat

    the Rushkis arent TOTALL Stupid, but History does SHOW alittle too much Grey Goose and they let down their guard,,,,lol lol lol

    June 16, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Reply
  14. G. Markus

    WAR IS ADDICTIVE!

    June 16, 2012 at 9:32 am | Reply
  15. Thor

    Good. Smoke em.

    June 16, 2012 at 12:54 am | Reply
    • George Patton

      Gee Thor, have tou no compassion at all? There is nothing good or glorious about killing people, nothing at all!!!

      June 16, 2012 at 8:20 am | Reply
      • Jeremy

        Then maybe we should head over there and stop Al Shabaab from killing people. How about that? It is worse to allow murderers to kill than it is to go and kill the murderers.

        June 16, 2012 at 9:05 am |
      • YoungMarine

        Do if they kill 3000 of our people we can't hit them harder because killing is wrong? It's war get over it

        June 17, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
      • sam

        unless you're the notorious muslim apologist posting as
        george Patton" there is a lot of glory in killing those who try to kill us. your crap is getting old,"george"

        June 18, 2012 at 9:23 am |
  16. nancy

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    June 15, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Reply
    • George Patton

      Just who cares, nancy? We don't need these, frivolous mindless Tea Party comments here. After all, people are being needlessly slaughtered in Yemen and Somalis by the war pigs in Washington by those godless drones!!!

      June 16, 2012 at 8:18 am | Reply
      • Marine5484

        Come on George, lighten up a little. Even these small minded Tea Partiers like nancy have a right to post here no matter how frivolous their thoughts are. Rmember how you felt when you were censored from GPS? I say that all censorship is bad, bad and bad!

        June 16, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
      • rick

        oooooooooooo "godless drones"...........oooooooo drones no good, shoe and underwear bombers good, shoe and underwear bombers, pirates, USS Cole bombers, acid throwers and well poisoners not godless, drones godless..........oooooooooooooooooo

        June 18, 2012 at 9:33 am |

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