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Flummoxed by facial hair

Bin Laden's beard -- real or not?On Monday Reuter’s Yahoo News carried an AFP story with the headline:

Bin Laden’s beard baffles chief US spy

How could this be? Does Al-Qaeda have some new beard technology that lets them throw the intelligence community into a tizzy, something even more sinister than the “Alan Parsons Project”?

The bewildered spy mentioned was none other than Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell, who is probably better known to you as the third guy from the right in the final number of Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance. (You know, the one where they all kept their upper bodies completely still while their lower extremities flailed around wildly, until eventually, their torsos just ripped apart from the excruciating torsion, showing a horrified audience with Celtic intestines. You definitely wanted to sit a few rows back from the stage for that show.)

At a congressional hearing (presumably about security, and not Irish dancing), senators wondered if Bin Laden’s beard was a signal of some kind.

McConnel didn’t think so. He seemed to be more concerned about whether Bin Laden’s beard was genuine.

“The big question in the community this morning, ‘Is that beard real,’ because as you know, just a few years ago, the last time he appeared, it was very different,” he said.

“So we don’t know if it’s dyed and trimmed or real, but that’s one of the things we’re looking at. But no specific message.”

That’s the big question? How about, where IS he? And why isn’t he dead yet?

Of course, this is an Agence France-Presse story, so it could just be something the French made up to make the American intelligence community look stupid.

Original news story | Alan Parsons Project [wiki]