TSA Adding Airport Explosives Screeners

Jan. 10, 2006 — -- Detroit today became the latest airport in the country to get devices that screen passengers for explosives.

More than two dozen airports nationwide now have the trace portal machines, which are designed to detect explosive material.

Passengers selected for additional screening, as well as some selected at random, will be asked to walk through the machines. A passenger steps into the device and stands still for a few seconds. The device releases several bursts of air. That lets loose microscopic particles on the skin and clothing, which are analyzed for any residue from explosives. The screening takes about 15 seconds.

The Transportation Security Administration recently said it needed to focus more heavily on the areas of greatest risk, which includes explosives detection.

The TSA is in the process of buying an additional 103 devices for use in dozens of the nation's larger airports. The next instillation is tomorrow in Charlotte, N.C.

In addition to Detroit, the machines are currently deployed at Ronald Reagan and Dulles airports in the D.C. area -- and at airports in Baltimore; Boston; Dallas; Gulfport, Miss.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Miami; Newark, N.J.; New York (JFK); Palm Beach, Fla.; Phoenix; Providence, R.I.; Rochester, N.Y.; San Francisco; San Diego; Pittsburgh; Tampa, Fla; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla; San Juan, P.R.; and Indianapolis.