“The United States views the Qaddafi regime as no longer having any legitimate authority in Libya,” [Secretary of State Hillary Rodham] Clinton said. “And so I am announcing today that, until an interim authority is in place, the United States will recognize the T.N.C. as the legitimate governing authority for Libya, and we will deal with it on that basis.”...ADDED: If you're wondering what "T.N.C." stands for I think it's The Nicaraguan Contras.
The step allows the United States to turn over to the rebel group some of the Libyan funds that have been frozen in American banks, to finance its efforts to oust Colonel Qaddafi and to administer the part of the country that the rebels control.
July 15, 2011
"The United States formally recognized the rebel leadership in Libya as the country’s legitimate government..."