Understandably, the U.S. government is upset about recent disclosures concerning lack of security at our nuclear research facilities, where our precious atomic secrets are leaking like duck sauce from a takeout container. Just last week, for instance, when the techs at Los Alamos had barely enough cash to cover the Domino's special with mushrooms and extra cheese, they tipped the delivery guy about four pounds of plutonium in a silver suitcase.

In the hysteria that has followed such revelations, U.S. officials have scrambled to institute tighter security measures. But it turns out that the weapons they're most concerned about aren't necessarily nuclear.

Forget about Wen Ho Lee. The apparent, um, root of the security lapse in the eyes of the national security establishment is . . . Mister Winky!

Spurred by the fear of a Mata Hari scenario, a new Department of Energy policy requires our nuclear scientists to report their amorous contact with foreigners from any of the 25 nations we have designated as "sensitive" because they don't meet our standards of democracy, human rights and Starbucks concentration. (The list of "sensitive" nations includes China, Russia, Israel, India and Pakistan. But not Canada, so if you can get Shania Twain in the sack, go for it!)

Thank God, though, the American government has shown maturity, sobriety and self-restraint by limiting this xenophobic overreaction to "repeated sexual contact." In a landmark victory for every man in every bar in every American town at 2 a.m., the Department of Energy's "Kiss and Tell" policy has specifically exempted--the one-night stand. (Note to feminists: Yes, there MAY be some women scientists who are also cheering this decision, and if there are, would you please tell them to call 334-7350 and ask for "Antonio, Lord of Last Call.")

To review then what our government stands for:

1. Repeated sex with foreigners may constitute a security breach, and it must be reported. (When asked if scientists would be required to report repeated sex with the rock band Foreigner, DOE officials admitted that was still a "gray area.")

2. One-night stands! Yeah, boyyy!

So come over here, my little sparerib, and let's get it on!

Of course the policy presumes a) that the "sensitive" countries aren't smart enough to get foreigners from a country not on the "sensitive" list to entrap the scientists, and b) that a really hot babe couldn't get a man to spill his guts in one night (a virtual eternity, in guy time). Speaking as a patriot, I would sell my country out in an Islamabad minute for one hour with Benazir Bhutto.

I think the greater issue here, though, is the revelation that U.S. nuclear scientists are actually having sex with foreigners--and not just with themselves!

Nuclear scientist is hardly one of the traditional sex-magnet occupations, like athlete, U.S. president, millionaire and ombudsman. Do you realize what this will do for enrollment at MIT and Cal Poly? Exponential!

But despite the enlightened move regarding one-nighters, the agency draws the line if said sensitive foreigner shows up for a return engagement. The rule requiring scientists to report sex they've had with a foreigner "on more than one occasion" states: "Such contact must be reported regardless of whether the foreign national's full name and other biographic data are known or unknown."

Unknown? These are rocket scientists! And if after multiple sexual encounters they're not even on a full-name basis, when would "country of origin" come up? (Are we hoping for a tattoo of a world map with an arrow that says "YOU ARE HERE"?)

And where do naturalized citizens fall in this rule? Let's say I suddenly got nuclear security clearance, could I freely boink Charo?

What keeps me up at night is imagining the meeting in which a room full of highly classified government employees is about to declare sex with sensitive foreigners off-limits when some, um, rump group pipes up with, "Come on, guys! Not one-night stands? I mean, can't we even do it just once? You make this rule, nobody will become a nuclear scientist anymore. They'll gravitate to professions where it's okay to have sex with foreigners--like the Peace Corps! I beg you, don't force us to choose between cold fusion and hot blood."

And what pol went for that argument, anyway?

Sen. Blutarsky?

The crux of the problem the policy-makers faced was defining "close and continuing contacts." To appreciate the difficulty, remember how the president answered the question "What is a sexual relationship?" by saying, "It depends what you mean by 'is.' " (Actually, it's a good thing nobody asked Bill Clinton for his definition of "close and continuing contact," because he probably would have said: "Having Paula Jones soldered to your leg.")

Of course these are highly technical issues, too complex for us to expect nuclear scientists--preoccupied with highly classified weapons systems--to remember in the heat of action. So I am making my own contribution to national security--an easy mnemonic device to help our brave scientists remember what situations are "go for liftoff!"

In the form of the following limerick:

I once bagged a spy from the Knesset.

Can't recall any night that would best it.

Though she probed about nukes,

Sought a list of our spooks,

I'm not even obliged to confess it.