From Josh Rogin, the Cable: Several administration officials held a classified briefing for all senators on Thursday afternoon in the bowels of the Capitol building, leaving lawmakers convinced President Barack Obama is ready to attack Libya but wondering if it isn’t too late to help the rebels there.
Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Bill Burns led the briefing and was accompanied by Alan Pino, National Intelligence Officer for the Near East, Gen. John Landry, National Intelligence Officer for Military Issues, Nate Tuchrello, National Intelligence Manager for Near East, Rear Adm. Michael Rogers, Director of Intelligence for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Rear Admiral Kurt Tidd, Vice Director of Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Several senators emerged from the briefing convinced that the administration was intent on beginning military action against the forces of Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi within the next few days and that such action would include both a no-fly zone as well as a "no-drive zone" to prevent Qaddafi from crushing the rebel forces, especially those now concentrated in Benghazi.
"It looks like we have Arab countries ready to participate in a no-fly and no-drive endeavor," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told reporters after the briefing. …
Asked exactly what the first wave of attacks would look like, Graham said, "We ground his aircraft and some tanks start getting blown up that are headed toward the opposition forces. …"
Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) told reporters that he expected the military operations to be run out of Sicily, where NATO Base Sigonella and U.S. Naval Air Station Sigonella are located.
"I know we have naval assets that are some distance away, so this would have to be U.S. Air Force Europe that would have the majority load for the time being, if the order is given," said Kirk. (photo: Getty)