GOP rep: Nuke could enter US hidden in marijuana bales

Rep. Trent FranksHarold (Trent) Trent FranksArizona New Members 2019 Cook shifts 8 House races toward Dems Freedom Caucus members see openings in leadership MORE (R-Ariz.) on Wednesday cautioned that a nuclear weapon could enter the U.S. under the cover of marijuana.

“We sometimes used to make the point that if someone wanted to smuggle a dangerous weapon into America, even a nuclear weapon, how would they do it?” he said on CNN. "The suggestion is, maybe we’ll hide it in a bale of marijuana. There are national security implications here for a porous border.

“As a group of nations, we need to understand that America is the world’s flagship of freedom. If we don’t have a secure border, that hurts everyone in the long run.”

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The Washington Post reported Wednesday that Franks’s suggestion is one that has been floated by nuclear weapons experts and at least one Democrat in the past.

“Missile defense is OK politically, but remember you can smuggle a nuclear weapon inside a bale of marijuana,” Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) said at a congressional hearing about North Korea earlier this month.

Sherman said something similar at a hearing in January, the Post said, and referenced the scenario at least three times when discussing Iran in 2015.

David Kay of the International Atomic Energy Agency explained why the idea is plausible during a 1996 interview on PBS’s “Frontline.”

“I’ve often said, my preferred method for delivering a nuclear device is, I would hide it in a bale of marijuana, contract it out to the drug lords and move it,” he said.

“Marijuana is a good shielder actually for radiation. 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.”

The director of George Washington University’s Homeland Security Policy Institute also pitched the idea in 2014.

“If you want to smuggle in a tactical nuclear weapon, just put it in a bale of marijuana,” Frank Ciluffo said during a congressional hearing that year. "Because we’re not doing that well in terms of some of our drug enforcement.”

President Trump has vowed to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, arguing it would help curb the flow of illegal immigrants, drug trafficking and related violence into America.