When Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) warned the American people about the dangers of nuclear warheads hidden inside marijuana, he sounded a little like a crackpot.
While on CNN defending President Trump’s plans for a border, Franks said, “I can suggest to you that there are national security implications here for a porous border. We sometimes used to make the point that if someone wanted to smuggle in a dangerous weapon — even a nuclear weapon — into America, how would they do it? And the suggestion was made, ‘Well, we’ll simply hide it in a bale of marijuana.’ ”
“Simply” hide a nuclear weapon inside “a bale of marijuana?” The F is this guy smoking?
Turns out Franks is not quite as crazy as he sounds. The theory of terrorists using established drug smuggling networks to get a nuke inside the United States is not a new one.
It goes back at least two decades, as pointed out by the Washington Post, to a TV interview given by a representative of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Way back in 1996, David Kay told Frontline that his “preferred method for delivering a nuclear device” would be to “hide it in a bale of marijuana, contract it out to the drug lords and move it.”
Kay reasoned that, “The drug lords have a superb record for delivery. They’re not Fed Ex, but they’re awfully close to it. And contract it out and get it across the border.”
And the reasoning goes beyond just using the best smugglers when you have to do some hardcore smuggling. The actual physical makeup of cannabis apparently makes it ideal for camouflaging some WMD’s. “Marijuana is a good shielder actually for radiation,” Kay said.
Since the 90’s, the whole “nukes inside bales of weed” theory has gained a good amount of traction. Democratic Representative Brad Sherman wrote in a statement in 2007 that “a nuclear bomb… could be smuggled into the United States inside a bale of marijuana.” He later expounded on this possibility in various hearings and forums in 2008, 2009, 2010, several in 2015, and only this month suggested the same idea at a congressional hearing on North Korea.
So maybe Franks got this idea from his colleague across the aisle. Or from one of many other people. The Post noted that this nuclear tactic and even the phrase “bale of marijuana” has been used by man experts over the years, including MIT professor Jack Ruina, director of George Washington University’s Homeland Security Policy Institute Frank Ciluffo, and Harvard professor Graham Allison.
So either it’s not a crazy idea, or there are a lot of stupid people calling themselves experts out there.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons