Published: Mar 22, 2011 5:53 PM EDT
Updated: Mar 22, 2011 2:53 PM EDT

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama's authority to order the military action against Libya without congressional approval is being challenged - and congressional critics are using candidate Obama's words against him.

In a Dec. 20, 2007 interview with the Boston Globe, Obama was asked about the president's constitutional authority to bomb Iran without seeking authorization from Congress. Obama said the president doesn't have the power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve a threat to the U.S.

In a letter to Congress on Monday, Obama said he authorized the military action against Libya as part of a "multilateral response authorized under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973."

He said he directed the actions as commander in chief and they were in U.S. national security interests.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)