Bayesian calculation of Bayesian calculation?

From Schneier’s Security blog, a lucid and highly readable commentary on security-related news, comes this comment:

The Home Secretary, John Reid, stated in December that an attempted terrorist attack in the UK over Christmas was “highly likely” … Since there wasn’t one, I think Bayes’ Theorem tells us that it is “highly likely” that Reid, and hence also MI5, either don’t know what they’re talking about, or else were lying.

From my limited experience, if nothing else, I can reason that this is not true, or at the very least not necessarily true. But what to do with such calculations, which one could argue are boundedly rational given ignorance about Bayesian matters and only a very limited amount of time to work through the logic? Is this a tolerable consequence of increasing awareness of Bayesianism?


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