TSA demonstrates Explosive Trace Detection technology - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

TSA demonstrates Explosive Trace Detection technology at Spokane International


















(The ETD technology is being expanded in the wake of the Christmas
Day failed attack)


SPOKANE, Wash. - At Spokane International Airport Wednesday morning the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) demonstrated a technology meant to detect trace amounts of explosives on passengers' hands.

The technology, dubbed Explosive Trace Detection, has been around since the agency's inception but is being expanded following the Christmas Day failed attack on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.

Passengers can expect to see an increase in the use of the technology at security checkpoints and boarding areas, according to the TSA.

To conduct the screening, a TSA officer may swab a piece of luggage or passengers' hands, then put the swab in the ETD machine to detect any explosive residue.

If the swab triggers an alarm, it does not necessarily mean that there is an explosive device present but it does mean that passenger will be further investigated.

"We don't take an alarm as an indication that there's necessarily an explosive device present, said acting Federal Security Director in Eastern WashingtonKevin Donovan. "All we take that alarm as is a need for additional scrutiny on that person."

Donovan also said that many things can trigger an alarm - even some hand lotions - and that's why the agency doesn't take an alarm as proof of an explosive device rather as an indication that further screening is required.

To date the Department of Homeland Security has awarded more $15 million in Recovery Act funding for 400 fixed ETD units which will supplement the more than 7,000 currently in use. In addition, President Obama has set aside $39 million in his 2011 budget to purchase 800 more portable ETD machines.

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