The other day I flipped through an old photo album and, as suspected, there they were: Tareq and Michaele Salahi, seated near the glazed turkey at our big family sit-down dinner two Christmases ago.
Seems that story about long-lost third cousin Tareq getting kidnaped by New Jersey gypsies and making a miraculous escape decades later and earning millions in the Romanian cable TV industry and marrying a Bavarian princess (that would be Michaele, dressed in holiday lederhosen) was just...a story.
Sigh. Now I'm wondering if "cousin" Tareq's secret recipe for spiked eggnog was bogus too. Pinched from the pages of Gourmet magazine?
There are many lingering questions about how the Salahis wound up at our humble table, not to mention a hermetically-sealed White House state dinner. It remains to be seen if we'll get any answers. Congress has ordered the Salahis to appear at a special hearing. So far, they refuse to show.
Instead of threatening to subpoena them, Congress would be better off employing reverse psychology. Convene a black-tie, A-Listers-only congressional hearing. The Tagalongs will be compelled to finagle a way inside. If the general public isn't welcomed some place, the Salahis simply gotta be there. Trespassing is their turn-on, a veritable his-and-her shoo fetish.
First question I'd like a Congressman to ask the Salahis: How does one get started down this peculiar road? Presumably with baby steps. I'm guessing you begin by, oh, crashing a neighborhood kid's birthday party, maybe dressed up as Mr. and Mrs. Chuck E. Cheese. From there, move up to a Kiwanis club meeting...high school graduation ceremony...Mormon Tabernacle Choir recording sessions. Next thing you know, you're sharing humus dip with the Prime Minister of India.
Second question: What other high-security fences have you social climbed? I swear I saw Tareq sitting in the Yankees dugout during game six of the World Series. There are reports he and the wife named dropped their way into the Great Ape House at the National Zoo and hitched a flight on the space shuttle. How many behind-the-impenetrable-scenes photos of them are floating around? Could there be enough for a limited-edition series of "Slippery Salahis" trading cards?
All this begs the bigger question of what do you do with these people? For gosh sake, they got close enough to head butt the President of the United States. Can't have that. Conventional wisdom says throw the book at them. But conventional wisdom is wrong. You don't punish this kind of perverse talent. You put it to work.
For eight years the United States has been trying to get up close and personal with Osama bin laden, hoping to penetrate the inner sanctum of his infamous network of caves along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Satellite technology can't seem to locate him. Nor the Army's Special Ops guys. Not even Dick Cheney's assassination-squad temps.
Maybe it's time to send in the clowns.
Government prosecutors ought to consider presenting the Salahis with one of those proverbial offers they can't refuse: Serve your country on a top-secret mission or serve five years behind bars in a federal prison that doesn't allow even limited access to polo ponies.
See how fast the Salahis devise a plan to nuzzle up to Osama.
It might entail spreading word around Kabul that they're organizing a celebrity-auction fund raiser for al-Qaeda. Would Mr. Bin laden be willing to donate a turban or autographed picture? The Salahis could opt to pose as entrepreneurs hawking Michaela's "Jazzercise for Jihadists" video, geared toward the fitness needs of freedom fighters who must spend extended periods of time hiding underground.
Somehow, some way, the glam duo will get within arm's reach of their prey. And snap a few souvenir photos. With a CIA-modified camera that transmits GPS coordinates.
Then, and only then, will President Obama have to ask himself the toughest of all Salahi questions: Should I order that drone missile attack before or after they leave bin Laden's members-only cave?