Feb 17th 2010
To the list of instructions you hear at airport checkpoints, add this: “Put your palms forward, please.”
The Transportation Security Administration soon will begin randomly swabbing passengers’ hands at checkpoints and airport gates to test them for traces of explosives.
Previously, screeners swabbed some carry-on luggage and other objects as they searched for the needle in the security haystack — components of terrorist bombs in an endless stream of luggage.
But after the Christmas Day attempted bombing of Northwest Flight 253 over Detroit, Michigan, the TSA began a program of swabbing passengers’ hands, which could be contaminated by explosive materials, experts say. The TSA will greatly expand the swabbing in the coming weeks, the agency said.