Sleep easy, America: a clear and present threat to national security has once more been averted by your intelligence services.
With only days to spare, White House security staff have foiled a carefully-laid plan to allow the Presidential threshold to be crossed by that most dangerous of beasts: a 65-year-old actress in possession of some left-wing principles.
The woman in question is Susan Sarandon: Oscar-winner, mother-of-three, Unicef goodwill ambassador and serial endorser of such edgy liberal causes as gay rights, social equality, and Aids awareness.
For reasons that remain unclear – and which Barack Obama's spokesman has failed to explain – Ms Sarandon claims to have been struck off the guest list for an event at the White House next week.
"I was denied security clearance and I don't know why," she told an audience in New York at the weekend.
Ms Sarandon believes the decision was taken after an extensive surveillance operation. She has twice used Freedom of Information laws to access her FBI file, and claims it reveals her phone conversations are routinely monitored by the US government.
"We know we are under surveillance," she said. "I've gotten my file twice under the Freedom of Information Act. I know my phone was tapped. If they're not surveilling you then everyone else has cameras on their phones."
The comments came during a public appearance at the Tribeca Film Festival in which Sarandon and the documentary-maker Michael Moore took part in a 75-minute Q&A session. Quite why the US government should regard Sarandon as a security threat remains unclear. Though she endorses various left-wing causes and was a vehement critic of the Iraq war, you'd be hard pressed to mistake her for a terrorist.
Her most public brush with controversy perhaps came in 1999, when she was among 200 people arrested during a protest at the New York police HQ over the shooting by officers of an unarmed African immigrant.
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