Hand swabbing "will be occurring on a more frequent basis," Allen said. "The enhanced use of this will occur everywhere."
Hand swabbing takes only seconds, Allen said. TSA tested the system at Hartsfield-Jackson and four other airports in the Southeast last month to determine whether it would affect wait times at checkpoints, and found it didn't have a negative impact. The random screening is aimed at making it "more difficult and unpredictable for those wishing to do us harm," according to the TSA.
TSA will use 7,000 explosives trace detection units already in use at airports around the country, the same type of units utilized to test checked bags and carry-on bags for explosives. The federal budget for fiscal year 2011 also proposes$60 million for the purchase of 800 portable versions of the machines.
If passengers refuse testing, transportation security officers will refer them to a TSA manager, Allen said. Passengers who might have innocuous residue on their hands that triggers detection will go through further reviews that could clear them. Those who test positive will be subject to additional testing.
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