At the top of the White House briefing, Press Secretary Jay Carney announced a number of steps the U.S. is taking against Muammar Gaddafi. These include:
–Suspending embassy operations in Tripoli. (A charter plane with U.S. personnel has departed for Istanbul.) “It has been shuttered,” says Carney. [UPDATE: Patrick Kennedy, the undersecretary for management at the State Department, clarified in a later briefing Friday afternoon that the U.S. flag still flies over the diplomatic compound in Tripoli. “The embassy is not closed,” he said. “Operations are suspended.” He said the U.S. was continuing diplomatic relations with the Libyan regime “by other means,” including Libyan employees who continue to work at the Embassy. “We did not break diplomatic relations,” he said.]
–Suspending the limited military cooperation with Libya.
–Moving forward with unilateral (though still unannounced) sanctions against the Libyan regime, as well as unannounced multilateral sanctions.
–Instructing U.S. and international banks to pay particular attention to inappropriate movements of money by regime elements.
–Pursue the removal of Libya from the United Nations Human Rights Council.
–Use the full resources of the U.S. Intelligence community to track the behavior of the Gaddafi regime to make sure evidence is collected of atrocities.
“It is clear that Col. Gaddafi has lost the confidence of his people,” Carney said, going far beyond previous statements. “His legitimacy has been reduced to zero in the eyes of his people.”
More announcements are expected soon about the specific sanctions.