National Security Brief: May 3, 2012

— The agreement signed earlier this week between President Obama and Afghan leader Hamid Karzai could leave the door open for continued drone strikes against insurgents in Pakistan after 2014 despite the fact pact states the U.S. will not use its presence in Afghanistan to launch offensive actions against other states, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker told journalists.

— According to a European energy firm, Iran’s oil exports hit a 20-year low — to 3.2 million barrels a day — as the toughest sanctions yet began to take full force.

— The Los Angeles Times speculates that Israel’s upcoming elections could serve to postpone any attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities but Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the “[e]lections will not affect deliberations of the professional echelon in everything regarding the Iranian issue.

— After changing his mind about staying in China and declaring that he’d been let down by the U.S., blind activist Chen Guangcheng said he hoped he and his family could “leave for the U.S. on Hillary Clinton’s plane” after summit she’s attending is over.


— Defense Secretary Leon Panetta yesterday trumpeted the military’s efforts to reduce fossil fuel consumption and increase use of clean energy. “We are working to be a leader and a bold innovator in environmental stewardship, energy efficiency and energy security,” he said.

— U.S. authorities plan to release dozens of documents today, both in the original Arabic and in English translation, taken by special forces from Osama bin Laden’s compounding during the raid in which the Al Qaeda leader was killed.

— Al Qaeda’s affiliated in Yemen has produced another issue of its English-language online magazine, Inspire, despite the killing of two top editors, Americans Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, in September.  — House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) worked with governors from across the nation — drafting letters to them and to Panetta — to oppose sequestration of defense spending as part of the deal to lift the debt ceiling last year.