The Pentagon press secretary, Peter Cook, walked into the Pentagon briefing room on the afternoon of Aug. 1 with an announcement: The U.S. had just launched airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Libya.
Reporters in the room jumped in with questions: Why now? What are the targets? What's the end goal? Finally, well into Cook's briefing, a reporter raised her hand and asked, under what legal authority were the strikes being conducted?
"Under the 2001 Authorization for the Military Force," Cook replied. "Similar to our previous airstrikes in Libya."