National Security Brief: November 7, 2011

— The IAEA’s upcoming report on Iran’s nuclear program will reveal that foreign experts from the former Soviet Union, Pakistan and North Korea assisted Iranian nuclear scientists and that Tehran has built a large steel container that can be used to test high explosives found in nuclear weapons.

— Mindful of the intelligence failures that led to the Iraq war, the U.S. is treading lightly as the U.N.’s nuclear agency is set to announce new evidence that Iran could be pursuing a nuclear weapons program in a report built on information from member states and the limited nuclear inspections that Iran allows the agency.

— When U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta visited Israel last month, he was unable to get a commitment from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel would coordinate with the U.S. if it chose to attack Iran, a U.S. official told the Israeli daily Haaretz.

— The foreign ministers from France and Russia warned against any military attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said it would be “totally destabilizing” while Russia’s Sergei Lavrov said an attack would be a grave mistake with unpredictable consequences.

— After 11 people were reportedly killed in fighting in Syria despite a deal brokered by the Arab League to withdraw the military from the streets, the increasingly powerful Persian Gulf nation of Qatar called for an emergency meeting of the Arab organization to address “the government’s failure to stick to its obligations.”

— Pakistan plans to train 8,000 people to protect the country’s nuclear arsenal following reports that nuclear weapons are frequently moved around the country in delivery vans and could be vulnerable to penetration by radical Islamist militants.

— New reports reveal that the Drug Enforcement Agency has five commando-style squads which for the past five years have been deploying to various countries in South and Central America to participate in battles against drug cartels.

— Panetta said in an interview with the New York Times that in order to cut military spending by $450 billion over the next decade, DOD is looking at reshaping medical and retirement benefits, reducing troop levels abroad, eliminating costly weapons programs and closing military bases.