Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Advanced Imaging Technology Off To a Great Start

Photo of a Knife
Since 2009, officers operating advanced imaging technology (AKA “body scanners”) have found all sorts of things on passengers. Some of these items have been smaller items such as a three inch pocket knife hidden on someone’s back, little packets of powder, a syringe full of liquid hidden in someone’s underwear, and other small items either intentionally hidden or forgotten. These finds demonstrate that imaging technology is very effective at detecting anomalies and can help TSA detect evolving threats to keep our skies safe.

Some might wonder what kind of damage small items could do to a plane since we’re looking for threats such as explosives. At first thought, you would probably think “not much,” but in addition to explosives, we’re also looking for bomb components, among other threat items. There’s more to a bomb than the explosive (timers, initiators, switches, power sources, etc.).

Photo of powder
Since our machines can detect such small items, I feel it’s important to remind passengers that when going through AIT screening, be sure to take everything out of your jacket, pants and shirt pockets. And unlike before with the walk through metal detector (magnetometer), wallets and other stuff you didn’t need to take out before will have to come out so we can get a clean image. And that goes to the folks who tuck stuff in their socks too. Making sure you get all the items out of your pockets will get you through the machine much more quickly without secondary screening and will allow the lines to move faster.

This post highlights that AIT is detecting potential threat items concealed under clothing and its deployment is helping to keep travelers safe by improving security at our airports.

As of yesterday, Charlotte Douglas International Airport is the latest airport to roll out Advanced Imaging Technology.

We’ve talked about this technology on the blog many times and you can read all of the AIT related posts here.

***Update - 4/21/2010***

We wanted to clarify that the ceramic knife in the image used for this post was discovered during the pat down of a passenger who opted out of AIT.

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TSA Blog Team