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David

I'd add a few more points:

* How many of the "positive" findings are non-terrorist related (i.e. smuggling)?

* What is the likelihood that any concealable object would allow a person to destroy or control an airplane?

Daniel

Questioning the wisdom and effectiveness of the TSA's strategies helps the terrorists to win.

Of course, I'm kidding. If the studies have been done to answer your questions, I can almost guarantee no one will ever release them. I'd wager they've never been done - this is more likely a case of political back-scratching.

I found this old article on the actual probability (and cost) of terrorist attacks fascinating. What's your take on his numbers? http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703481004574646963713065116.html

Tom

As far as effectiveness of full-body scanners goes, it may be relevant that former DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff is a vocal supporter of deploying these systems, and is contracted (through his security consulting company, the Chertoff Group) by the company that manufactures the back-scatter x-ray machines.

The NYT lack of editorial integrity should also come as no surprise, as the paper has repeatedly admitted to approaching the White House to screen its articles, most recently with Wikileaks' "Cablegate."

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