TSA pushes new security technology at airport passenger checkpoints

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National Press Release
Wednesday, September 22, 2004

WASHINGTON – In a significant technology advancement, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today announced the deployment at three additional major airports of a new Explosives Trace Detection Document Scanner that can "sniff" passenger documents such as boarding passes and drivers' licenses for traces of explosives. The airports are Los Angeles International (LAX), New York's John F. Kennedy (JFK) and Chicago's O'Hare International (ORD).

"TSA is committed to deploying new explosives detection technologies to passenger security checkpoints to safeguard the traveling public," said Rear Admiral David M. Stone, USN (Ret.), Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for TSA. "TSA continues to lead the way in utilizing the latest emerging technologies with various pilots to screen both passengers and air cargo for explosives."

The pilot program was first unveiled two weeks ago at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Tests will be conducted for a minimum of 30 days at each airport.

The Document Scanner analyzes samples collected by swiping the surface of a document over a collection disc and alerts the screener if explosives residue is detected. During the pilot, passengers selected for secondary screening at particular checkpoints will have their boarding passes scanned. If the Document Scanner alarms, additional screening procedures will be implemented.

This pilot is one in a series of next-generation tools being tested by TSA including explosives trace detection portals, which are being tested in four airports with nearly a dozen more to come online in the next year. Also, the Registered Traveler Pilot Program, in place at five airports, is another innovative instrument to improve security through identity verification. And, in the air cargo arena, a six-airport test is using bulk Explosives Detection Systems (EDS) to screen elevated risk cargo.