Travelers Board Flight After Positive Explosives Tests

TSA agents say two passengers with casts tested positive for traces of explosives

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    Transportation Security Administration agents say two incidents at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on Tuesday night exposed a flaw in airport security.

    Sources within the TSA and DFW Airport Police said agents found small traces of explosives on the arm casts of two people in two different terminals. Both travelers were allowed to board their flights.

    TSA Agents Say Cast Incidents Demonstrate Security Flaw

    [DFW] TSA Agents Say Cast Incidents Demonstrate Security Flaw
    Transportation Security Administration agents say two incidents at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on Tuesday night exposed a flaw in airport security. (Published Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010)

    TSA agents say they have no way of looking underneath casts if travelers test positive for traces of explosives. The TSA did not deploy portable CastScopes to DFW.  The Cast Scope is designed to scan a cast. The device is only used in a handful of airports across the country.

    The airport's new whole-body scanners can see through a cast, but the scanners are only at two of DFW's security checkpoints.

    "They don't have adequate equipment and, because of that, security is no better today then it was on September 10th, 2001," aviation security consultant Denny Kelly said.

    TSA spokesperson Luis Casanova would only say he's sure

    "In both instances, the passengers would have gone through multiple levels of screening and would only be allowed to pass through security if it was determined they were not a threat," TSA spokesman Luis Casanova said.

    He declined to describe the screening procedures.

    TSA agents at DFW Airport said a routine swab of a cast is the only procedure to test for explosives.

    The agents said the TSA bomb-detection agent on duty refused to clear the two travelers because there was no way to determine what was under their casts. A high-ranking TSA supervisor overruled the bomb-detection agent and allowed the travelers to pass through the security checkpoints, the agents said.

    Kelly called it ridiculous.

    "It's silly to check somebody, detain them, and then because you can't do anything, say, 'Go on through,'" he said. "It doesn't make sense."

    The TSA agents said they talked to a reporter about the incidents to make them public and put pressure on headquarters so they can get the proper equipment to screen people with casts.