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Feb 22, 2013 No Comments ›› Pat Dollard

Excerpted from Global Affairs: President Obama told Congress on Friday he had dispatched 40 more American troops to Niger this week, bringing the total U.S. military presence in the west African country to 100.

The troops have been deployed to support the intervention in neighboring Mali, where French troops have been helping local forces rout Islamist militants from the country’s north since last month.

The Obama administration is also planning to build a base in Niger for unarmed Predator drones to conduct surveillance on militants in the region, The New York Times reported last month.

On Wednesday, “the last elements of a deployment of approximately 40 additional U.S. military personnel entered Niger with the consent of the Government of Niger,” Obama wrote to the House and Senate leaders.

“This deployment will provide support for intelligence collection and will also facilitate intelligence sharing with French forces conducting operations in Mali, and with other partners in the region. The total number of U.S. military personnel deployed to Niger is approximately 100. The recently deployed forces have deployed with weapons for the purpose of providing their own force protection and security.”

Here’s the full letter:

TEXT OF A LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT TO THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND THE PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE OF THE SENATE

February 22, 2013

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

On February 20, 2013, the last elements of a deployment of approximately 40 additional U.S. military personnel entered Niger with the consent of the Government of Niger. This deployment will provide support for intelligence collection and will also facilitate intelligence sharing with French forces conducting operations in Mali, and with other partners in the region. The total number of U.S. military personnel deployed to Niger is approximately 100. The recently deployed forces have deployed with weapons for the purpose of providing their own force protection and security.

I directed this deployment of U.S. forces in furtherance of U.S. national security interests, and pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive.

I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution (Public Law 93-148). I appreciate the support of the Congress in this action.

Sincerely,

BARACK OBAMA