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Transportation Security Administration

TSA security officers discover explosive residue at the checkpoint

Local Press Release
Thursday, August 17, 2006

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Two Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security officers discovered explosive residues on two containers of liquid in a carry-on bag brought by a passenger at the Huntington Tri-State Airport (HTS). At 9:15 a.m. this morning Transportation Security Officer (TSO) Joshua Messinger and TSO Clifford Barker discovered the residues while screening bottles filled with liquid substances. Last week, TSA banned liquids and gels on commercial aircraft.

“From the smallest regional airport to the largest hub, our security officers, using their training and technology, are the key to ensuring we protect the flying public,” said TSA’s Assistant Secretary Kip Hawley. “I applaud officers Messinger and Barker not only for their technical expertise but for the professionalism they displayed in managing this situation. They exemplify the skill and talent of our excellent workforce nationwide.”

The officers noticed the prohibited liquids inside a traveler’s carry-on bag during screening at the checkpoint. The bag was opened and the contents tested with an Explosives Trace Detector. The item tested positive for explosives and a retest confirmed the results. At that point, local law enforcement was notified and an explosives detection canine team arrived to provide further confirmation of the presence of explosive material.

At 11:25 a.m., to ensure the safety of the traveling public, West Virginia State Police, the Tri-State Airport Authority and TSA agreed to evacuate the terminal. This afternoon the terminal was reopened and Officers Messinger and Barker were back on the job ensuring all passengers departing from HTS reach their destination safely.

More than 31,000 Security Officers at the TSA have received specialized training to detect the presence of improvised explosive devices, commonly known as IEDs, or explosives in baggage. In today's threat environment, TSOs are a viable layer of security to defend against the threat of terrorism.

The matter is now in the hands of law enforcement.