Friday, October 3, 2008

Technology Aims to Address Existing Liquid Threat

TSA is aware that the current liquid restrictions are a pain point for the public. That is one reason why the agency is working aggressively to deploy technology that can detect liquid explosives. The primary reason is: better security.

As the Middle Seat blog column stated yesterday, widespread deployment of new multi-view x-ray systems with an enhanced algorithm that detects specific liquids remains about a year away. But the multi-view x-ray itself is a significant improvement over the standard x-ray that’s been at the checkpoint since its inception in the 1970s.

It is worth emphasizing TSA’s checkpoint security operations are based on Intelligence and information sharing with partners here and around the world. Liquids are banned today in the U.S. and in 80 other countries not only because of the foiled August 2006 plot but because of continued interest by terrorists to use liquids and other novel explosives to make bombs.

Even the U.S. papers are picking up on open source information much more readily reported in Europe about active terror suspects with large amounts of explosive chemicals that are still traveling freely in Germany and other countries.

The bottom line is the threat hasn’t diminished on liquid explosives.

Ellen Howe