- The Atlantic -
Last summer, the White House authorized a massive expansion of clandestine military and intelligence operations worldwide, sanctioning activities in more than a dozen countries and giving the military's combatant commanders significant new authority to conduct unconventional warfare.
The New York Times reported on one major operational plan, which authorizes intelligence gathering and reconnaissance activities in the Middle East, the Horn of Africa and Central Asia. A Joint Unconventional Warfare Task Force Execute Order, was signed on September 30, 2009, by CENTCOM commander in chief David Petraeus. It was marked "LIMDIS" -- as in "limited distribution," and hard copies were delivered to about 30 people.
The Times did not report its original classified codename, "Avocado." The name has since been changed.
Other "ex-ords" signed by combatant commanders include provisions for secret American bases and operations in countries like Georgia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and in the Dagestan region of the North Caucuses. In the latter space, U.S. soldiers were tasked with tracking down members of identified separatist groups with loose ties to Al Qaeda. One of those groups was responsible for the March 31 bombings in Kizlyar, according to American intelligence officials.
Read all of it.