Analysis: Airports on Guard
Council on Foreign Relations
May 25, 2007
Prepared by: Eben Kaplan
Airports and aviation officials hold out hope that technological innovation can improve the quality and efficiency of their security screening as well. This summer the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will deploy electronic “sniffers” (USAToday) designed to detect vapors given off by potentially explosive liquids. These will join a gaggle of other gadgets, including the traditional X-rays and metal detectors, as well as the relatively new “puffers” (BusinessWeek), which shoot bursts of air at passengers and analyze the loosed particles for traces of explosives. For baggage screening, the TSA has turned to CAT scanning technology (PDF) similar to that used in hospitals. Other technologies remain in the works: Quadrupole resonance scanners could use radio frequencies to screen baggage for explosives in bulk, while backscatter X-rays, a technology already employed at some checkpoints in Iraq, provides better images than current technology.
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Copyright 2007 by the Council on Foreign Relations. This material is republished on GlobalSecurity.org with specific permission from the cfr.org. Reprint and republication queries for this article should be directed to cfr.org.
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