WASHINGTON—In testimony before a special panel on domestic safety Tuesday, officials at the Central Intelligence Agency revealed that the U.S. may have anywhere between one and three unidentified secret admirers currently longing for the country.
"We face a new and disturbing reality: There are people out there who love us, and they're coming after us," said a blushing John Michael McConnell, director of national intelligence. "We currently have no leads as to who exactly has targeted the U.S. for its affections, but we can be certain our admirer's feelings are real and not going away anytime soon. I strongly urge all Americans to be incredibly flattered but cautious."
According to McConnell, the CIA received credible heart-shaped intelligence taped to the door of the agency's headquarters in early September, alerting them to an unspecified number of nations that might be harboring fondness for the United States. After being held to the chests of high-ranking CIA officials for a classified length of time, the note was subjected to a battery of forensic tests, as were the chocolates and single red rose that accompanied it. After six days of examination, however, analysts were unable to find a name on the card's pink, glittered surface.
President Bush was reportedly informed of the situation in excited whispers.
"I assure you, the full resources of your government are being utilized to track down any and all persons who may have special feelings for our great nation," McConnell said. "If this information were to fall into the wrong hands, it would be absolutely humiliating."
Intelligence officers were able to narrow the original field of 190 suspects to a more manageable 47, including Egypt, the European Union, and Antoine Martin, a 36-year-old tennis instructor from Monte Carlo. The agency also stepped up surveillance on Mexico and Canada, the two countries the CIA considers closest to the United States.
"We've always had a certain, well, tension with Russia, so we asked our most trusted field operatives to ask their most trusted field operatives if they maybe liked America, but so far the country has proven both uncooperative and bashful," said one unnamed CIA source, who confirmed that all intelligence-gathering operations in the Scandinavian countries were terminated after it was determined they were "out of [the U.S.'s] league." "Then Spain told us they had information as to who the admirer is, but unfortunately they have been sworn to secrecy."
The unnamed source added, "With our luck, it's probably Kyrgyzstan."
At an emergency sleepover session of Congress, lawmakers passed a $750 million appropriations bill to strengthen law enforcement presence at all major U.S. ports. The measure would dispatch more than 15,000 police officers to the nation's borders to inspect any boats transporting large quantities of perfume or jewelry, as well as any barges carrying suspiciously heartfelt poetry.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi personally pledged her support in finding the secret admirers, offering to make multiple diplomatic visits to Japan to assess the country's possible involvement and potential interest in the upcoming Modest Mouse show.
"Until we have more information about who we are dealing with and whether or not they are gross, all precautions must be taken to prevent a harmless crush from escalating into full-scale infatuation," Pelosi said, clutching a brief compiled by aides on which she had drawn a heart around the words "Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda."
Although sources at the agency report none of the top secret, encrypted messages passed to visiting dignitaries have been returned with "yes" boxes checked, they remain hopeful they will be able to root out all smitten parties and avoid any potentially awkward moments at the United Nations.
"I've said it all along: It's Africa," McConnell said. "They're always asking us for aid and inviting us to world health summits. I think it's pretty clear that they've been wanting to get our attention for some time."