WASHINGTON, July 13 (UPI) -- CIA officers have helped the transitional Somali government interrogate suspected terrorists allegedly operating in the Horn of Africa, an official source said.
The transitional government in Somalia is struggling to expand its control beyond a small portion of Mogadishu as it battles al-Qaida fighters in al-Shabaab bent on establishing an Islamic state.
U.S. President Barack Obama issued an executive order describing an "unusual and extraordinary" threat to U.S. national and foreign policy interests emanating from Somalia early this year.
An official source in the U.S. government told CNN on condition of anonymity that CIA officers were helping the transitional government interrogate suspected terrorists.
"Only on very rare occasion does the CIA support debriefings of suspected terrorists who are in (Somalia's Transitional Federal Government) custody," the source said.
The CIA has said it believes al-Shabaab is establishing closer links with al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the terrorist franchise in Yemen.
AQAP has targeted U.S. interests in the past, including the attempted downing of a U.S. passenger plane bound for Detroit on Christmas Day 2009. The FBI has arrested several U.S. nationals accused of supporting al-Shabaab.
Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame, a Somali terrorism suspect captured in the Gulf of Aden, last week was indicted on federal charges of supporting al-Shabaab. Warsame allegedly fought on behalf of al-Shabaab in Somalia and spent time in Yemen.