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September 20, 2004

Bribes, Airport Security, and Helpful Entrapment

One reason our precautions against hijackers are silly is that a simple bribe can get around any of them. Via Tyler Cowen, the September 17 Washington Post tells us

A thousand rubles, or about $34, was enough to bribe an airline agent to put a Chechen woman on board a flight just before takeoff, according to Russian investigators. The agent took the cash, and on a ticket the Chechen held for another flight simply scrawled, "Admit on board Flight 1047."

The woman was admitted onto the flight, while a companion boarded another plane leaving Moscow's Domodedovo Airport the same evening. Hours later, both planes exploded in midair almost simultaneously, killing all 90 people aboard.

It would take more than $34 in America, but I think $2,000,000 would do it, not a large sum for a group that is willing to use up its own members' lives.

I do have a solution, though I don't think we're using it: entrapment. We need to immediately send out FBI agents to offer numerous two million dollar bribes to airport personnel, and we must publicize the firing (and perhaps the criminal prosecution, even if conviction fails) of those who succumb to temptation. Lots of people would give up their honor for two million dollars, but if there is only a 1 in 100 probability that the briber will pay rather than turn you in, the expected payment falls to $20,000, with a 99% chance of losing your job.

Posted by erasmuse at September 20, 2004 02:28 PM

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