By Scott Brown
October 23, 2006 at 12:00 PM EDT

The CIA has advertised during Washington Nationals baseball games and on the Discovery Channel. The FBI has recruited on Super Bowl air. Each market makes a certain sort of sense for each agency. (I can only imagine the ATF has scraped together enough beer money to wedge a quick a “Time and Temperature” spot into reruns of Magnum P.I.) So now the codecracking NSA, newly notorious in the (long) wake of the warrantless wiretapping scandal, has entered the recruitment commercial game, taking aim at the audiences of… Lost and CSI.

Now there are many ways to promote your supersecret intelligence agency, the best being brutally unrealistic video games. Gamers are born operatives. But going for the Lost and CSI markets, well, that’s another thing entirely.

Say you’re recruiting Lost fans for their their powerful observation skills, their pattern-detection faculty and their ability to decrypt coded meanings during commercial breaks. Excellent plan, but what if your drift net pulls in the wrong kind of Lost fan? The kind who’ll use the vast computing power of the NSA mainframe to calculate Hurley’s estimated weight against various scramblings of the letters in “Lindelof,” in the hopes that it will reveal the identity of Jack’s ex-wife’s new lover? Or the kind of fan who’ll crash the server with Sawyer-Kate YouTube videos? Or the kind who’ll advise an invasion of Syria on the strong evidence that they’re responsible for the continuing lameness of Locke’s storyline?

As for CSI: Is the NSA chartered to solve murders in Vegas using zoomy CGI? Not that it matters, ever since the Constitution was cancelled for not being “18-49” enough.

Just something to think about.