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US Considers French Request for 'Targeting' Intelligence in Mali

The United States has backed France’s operation with surveillance and logistical support. Speaking in Spain, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the United States is considering French requests for additional military help.

Photo: Joe Penney / Reuters Defense Secretary Leon Panetta:

"We are discussing in Washington some of the requests that have been made to determine exactly what assistance we can provide. Our goal is to try to do what we can to provide whatever assistance is necessary in order to help them in that effort. But specifically in what areas, that’s still something that is under discussion."

The Washington Post reports France has asked for U.S. intelligence that could be used for "targeting purposes," a request that could raise questions under international law. The United States is also reportedly considering whether to help France transport its troops and military supplies. The Obama administration is said to be wary of deepening its involvement in Mali after having trained military leaders that ended up staging a coup and even joining the rebels’ fight.

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