The US military has conducted nearly a dozen secret operations against al-Qaida and other terrorist groups in Syria, Pakistan and other countries since 2004, The New York Times reported Sunday night. Citing anonymous US officials, the Times story said the operations were authorized by a broad classified order that then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld signed and President George W. Bush approved in spring 2004. The order gave the military authority to attack al-Qaida anywhere in the world and to conduct operations in countries that were not at war with the US. One such operation was an Oct. 26 raid inside Syria, the Times reported. Washington has not formally acknowledged the raid, but US officials have said the target was a top al-Qaida in Iraq figure. Syria has asked for proof and said eight civilians were killed in the attack. In another mission, in 2006, Navy SEALs raided a suspected terrorist compound in Pakistan's tribal areas. Link here.