Embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has suffered a serious blow as Musa Kusa, his foreign minister and a close confidant, has defected. Tunisian media reported earlier Wednesday that Kusa had flown to London, where allied officials are discussing how to handle the Libyan crisis. The Libyan government quickly said he was on a diplomatic mission, but they wouldn’t say what, and British officials said no meetings with Kusa had been on the docket, and later confirmed that Kusa is in London and has defected. While he’s close to Gaddafi, Kusa also has good connections in the West: He’s been a key contact with the CIA since Libya began cooperating with U.S. anti-terror operations in 2003. A friend says Kusa was upset over attacks on civilians. It’s a bright sign for rebels against Gaddafi, who have had a bad day after being driven from two coastal oil towns by loyalist forces after several days of gains, raising the specter of a stalemate.