WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has ordered the expenditure of up to $25 million in surplus government goods to support Libyan opposition groups and protect civilians threatened by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's forces.

The president issued the directive Tuesday to Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Obama informed Congress of his decision last week.

In a memorandum to Gates and Clinton, Obama authorized that the money be used for non-lethal commodities and services to help the opposition, led by the Transitional National Council in Benghazi.

The money may not be used to offer Libyan rebels broader assistance, including cash, weapons or ammunition. Included in the assistance are medical supplies, uniforms, boots, tents, personal protective gear, radios and Halal meals, which are meals prepared according to Islamic tradition. (AP)