In addition people in the area including criminals may observe with increasing

In addition people in the area including criminals

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In addition, people in the area, including criminals, may observe with increasing curiosity and puzzlement the constant coming and going of technicians unlikely to be locals. If the effortto build a bomb was successful, the finished product, weighing a tonor more, wouldthen have to be transportedto and smuggled into the relevant target country where it would have to be received by collaborators who areat once totally dedicated and technically proficient at handling, maintaining, detonating, andperhaps assembling the weaponafter it arrives. The financial costsof this extensive and extended operation could easily become monumental.There would be expensive equipment to buy, smuggle, and set up and people to pay or pay off. Some operatives might work for free out of utter dedication to the cause, but the vast conspiracy also requires the subversion of a considerable array of criminals and opportunists, each of whom has every incentive to push the price for cooperation as high as possible.Any criminalscompetent and capable
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enough to be effective allies arealso likely to be both smart enough to see boundless opportunities for extortion andpsychologically equipped by their profession to be willing to exploit them.Those who warn aboutthe likelihood of a terrorist bomb contend thata terrorist group could, if with great difficulty, overcome each obstacle and that doing so in each case isnot impossible.” But although it may not be impossible to surmount each individual step, the likelihood that a group could surmount a series of themquickly becomes vanishingly small.Table 1 attempts tocatalogue the barriers that must be overcome under the scenario considered most likely to be successful. In contemplating the task before them, would-be atomic terroristswould effectively be required to go though an exercise that looks much like this. If and when they do, they will undoubtedly conclude thattheir prospects are daunting andaccordingly uninspiring or eventerminally dispiriting.It is possible to calculate the chances for success. Adopting probability estimates thatpurposely and heavily bias the case in the terrorists’ favor—for example, assuming the terrorists have a 50% chance of overcoming each of the 20 obstacles—the chances that a concerted effort would be successful comes out tobe less than one in a million. If one assumes, somewhat more realistically, that their chances at each barrier are one in three, the cumulative odds that they will be able to pull off the deed drop to one inwell over three billion.Other routeswould-be terrorists might take to acquire a bomb are even more problematic. They are unlikely to be given or sold a bombby a generous like-minded nuclear state for delivery abroad because the risk would be high, even for a country led by extremists, that thebomb (and its source) would be discoveredeven before delivery or that it would be exploded in a mannerand on a target the donor would not approve
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