Give the TSA a Hand: New Screenings Coming to Airports

By Glenn Zimmerman
|  Thursday, Feb 18, 2010  |  Updated 10:40 AM EDT
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Give the TSA a Hand: New Screenings Coming to Airports

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In the coming weeks, you may be asked to give a hand to your friendly neighborhood TSA agent, but hold the applause.

Detection machines will be placed in airports around the country randomly swabbing passengers' palms for explosive residue. 

Screening could take place at anytime during the boarding process, in line at a checkpoint even while you wait at the gate.

Agents have been randomly swabbing bags for years, but this latest security measure comes as a reaction to the attempted bombing of a flight on Christmas day. In that case the suspect evaded security measures by hiding the explosive material on his body.

Travelers we spoke with at LaGuardia didn't seem phased, but people like Pam Franzen see it as a reactive move. "It seems a lot of times the steps that we're taking are the ones after the fact where it's reactive not proactive," Franzen said.

This new measure comes on the heels of new information about a security breach at Newark Liberty airport on President's Day.

According to a TSA spokesperson, a man was flagged for secondary screening after officials spotted what appeared to be a wine bottle in his carry on luggage, even though it is illegal to carry more than 3oz of liquids onto a plane.

However, the man ignored protocol and left the screening area, and that sent security scrambling to find him.

He was never found, but the breach caused about an hours worth of delays at Terminal A. Passengers will remember back in January when a Rutgers doctoral student from China allegedly crossed security to give his girlfriend a good bye kiss.

The result shut the airport down for more than 6 hours as officials searched for any potential threat.  

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