Insulated Beverage Containers to Undergo Extra Security at Airports

TSA warns of beefed-up security going into the holiday weekend.

December 24, 2010, 10:40 AM

Dec. 24, 2010 — -- Travelers toting thermoses and insulated beverage containers through the nation's airports today might face heightened security measures, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

"The possible tactics terrorists might use include the concealment of explosives inside insulated beverage containers, so in the coming days, passengers flying within and to the U.S. may notice additional security measures related to insulated beverage containers," the TSA said in a statement released early today.

According to the TSA, while no specific threats have been reported, agents at airports have been trained to "detect a variety of threats, including the concealment of explosives in common items.

"Passengers traveling with insulated beverage containers can expect to see additional screening of these items using procedures currently in place, including X-ray screening, physical inspection and the use of explosives trace detection technology," read the statement.

Adm. James Winnefeld, head of the U.S. Northern Command, told The Associated Press that the TSA is "always trying to think ahead."

While little news has emerged from the nation's airports so far, a man in West Palm Beach, Fla., was arrested after the TSA found a loaded gun in his fanny pack, according to ABC News' affiliate WPLG.

Juan Manuel Baldoquin, 48, was arrested after screeners spotted a 25-caliber semiautomatic pistol while operating the X-ray machine, and then found the gun during a hand search of his fanny pack, according to the TV report. There was one bullet loaded in the gun, which Baldoquin insisted he'd forgotten about.

The latest warning from the TSA follows a stronger one from the White House, which called for extra vigilant this holiday season, warning of a possible -- though unspecified -- terror threat from al Qaeda. The caution echoed a weeks' worth of warnings from law enforcement authorities.

"We remain vigilant to attempts by al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations to carry out cowardly attacks against innocent men, women and children, and we are working very closely with other governments to share all threat information immediately and to coordinate closely our counterterrorism and security activities," John Brennan, the White House counterterrorism chief, said in a statement earlier this week.

Attorney General Eric Holder, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security also alerted the public to a possible attack, citing a year's worth of thwarted attempts, beginning with 2009's Christmas Day "underwear" plot. It was a year ago that a suspected al Qaeda operative tried to detonate explosives packed in his briefs, onboard a flight bound from Amsterdam to Detroit.

This week Attorney General Eric Holder told ABC News in an exclusive interview that Americans "have to be prepared for potentially bad news."

"What I am trying to do in this interview is make people aware of the fact that the threat is real, the threat is different, the threat is constant," he said.

Two bombings at embassies in Rome Thursday also heightened everyone's awareness of possible terrorism plots.

A little-known group called the Informal Anarchic Federation claimed responsibility for these bombings.

Italian news reports said the claim, found today, translated from Italian read, "We have decided to make our voice heard with words and with facts, we will destroy the system of dominance, long live the FAI, long-live Anarchy."

Bombs exploded at the Swiss and Chilean Embassies, according to police, and a similar suspicious package, were sent to the Ukrainian Embassy but proved to contain no explosive materials.

The explosions have put security efforts worldwide on high alert, including New York City, where Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Thursday that officials are "on alert" going into the holiday weekend.

"Quite frankly, there is always a possibility of an attack here," said Kelly. "We are on the top of the terrorist target list. That is the world in which we live.

"This is not new news for us. The fact that there may be something happening or planned to happen, we have no specific information," he said. "But we are on alert, we are watching indicators we normally watch."

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