Welcome to national security amateur hour.
I’m almost a month behind on this one (or six years, depending on your count) but that shouldn’t come as a surprise, since I’m almost a month behind on everything… including The Colbert Report, through which the following information — first broadcast on October 1 — was brought to my attention earlier this week.
When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited New York in late September, delivering a speech to the UN on Yom Kippur wasn’t the only item on his to-do list. The Iranian President’s 140-person entourage was also spotted “at Payless Shoesource, Costco, Walgreens and Duane Reade [stocking] up on items ranging from wholesale shampoo to a pair of $40 kids’ shoes.”
The only more delicious list of shopping destinations would have included B&H Photo and H&H Bagels.
But where Colbert focused on radioactive yellowcake mix at Costco, the real aim of the shopping spree has gone unreported — even while the clues hide in the open. Specifically, in that quote from the Huffington Post: the Iranian delegation hit the town, and came back with a large quantity of shampoo.
This purchase begs the obvious: how did they plan to transport it all back to Iran? Traveling with liquids in your checked bag is just asking for them to explode and ruin those $40 kids’ shoes. And getting more than 3 ounces of shampoo past TSA ‘security’ is obviously a fool’s errand.
Then again, I haven’t heard about any big shampoo bust out of JFK over the past month. Which brings me to a sobering reality: if Iranian agents have tested the limits of US airport security and come away victorious — that is, managed to smuggle shampoo aboard a plane — who knows what they’ll manage to carry-on next time? In this post-9/11 world, you have to be ready for anything.
Sadly, it is readily apparent that the TSA is not.
All this is to say that New York Times reports indicating Iran may finally be ready to sit down and negotiate — reports denied first by the White House, then by Barack Obama — might make some sense: Armed with the ability to evade TSA, Iran may have come to the realization that further development of nuclear technology is not only damaging to its economy, but an unnecessary step in the neverending war against Big Satan.
After all, just how big can a Satan be if you can threaten it with a bottle of wholesale shampoo?