The Transportation Security Administration soon will begin randomly swabbing passengers’ hands at checkpoints and airport gates to test them for traces of explosives. Air travelers may have their hands swabbed more often as part of a stepped-up effort to screen passengers for explosives, an Obama administration official said Wednesday.
Previously, screeners swabbed some carry-on luggage and other objects as they searched for the needle in the security haystack — components of terrorist bombs in an endless stream of luggage. But after the Christmas Day attempted bombing of Northwest Flight 253 over Detroit, Michigan, the TSA began a program of swabbing passengers’ hands, which could be contaminated by explosive materials, experts say.
Airports were told Wednesday that more passengers should be randomly screened for explosives before, during and after they go through metal detectors, the official said. The screening could include swabbing travelers’ hands or their carry-on luggage to check for traces of explosives.