The news that TV hard man Kiefer Sutherland has been jailed for drink-driving has shocked America and buoyed terrorist organisations the world over.
The all-action hero and star of 24 was sentenced to 48 days imprisonment yesterday, whereupon al-Quaeda sleeper cells across the US began making plans to attack. Fanatical Jihad websites urged members to act swiftly. One carried the message: "Praise Allah! The blond infidel pig is incapacitated - strike now, brothers, while the iron is hot!"
Emerging from the courtroom wearing his trademark filthy white T-shirt and looking like he could do with a good kip, Sutherland was clearly chagrined by his misdemeanour and vowed to use his time inside for "quiet reflection".
His lawyer maintained that Sutherland's punishment of choice would have been torture at the hands of a Chinese warlord followed by a severe kicking by a load of Haitian militiamen, but he conceded that state law decreed that he serve his sentence in the "same cushy place as Paris Hilton."
Meanwhile, Sutherland's colleagues at the FBI's Counter-Terrorism Unit resolved to spring him from jail "as soon as they could set up a perimeter". Chief Bill Buchanan was bullish. "He's tough. Breaking him out of a low-security California facility will be a piece of piss. I can remember storming a Russian stronghold in Siberia and choppering Kiefer out under heavy fire from Kalashnikovs and rocket launchers. Five hours later he was defusing a suitcase nuke in LA despite having his thumbs broken by a gang of Triads."
Nevertheless, President Wayne Palmer was alarmed by the 48-day sentence. "This is a nation beset by shifty Arabs, nefarious businessmen with links to terrorism and back-stabbing senators prowling up and down the corridors of power," he said in a statement. "If we lock up Kiefer Sutherland, I may as well top myself now and save an assassin the trouble."