TSA, Amtrak Test Anti-Terrorism Technology at New York’s Penn Station

Feb 27, 2018

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The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Amtrak tested new technology designed to detect concealed explosives on Tuesday at Penn Station in Manhattan.

A TSA worker carries a vest with explosives that its seen on a display with a red line that alert the officer through the new devices designed to detect explosives at New York City's Penn Station on February 27, 2018 in New York City. The TSA has worked with devices known as stand-off explosive detection units since 2004 with transit agencies like Amtrak and New Jersey Transit, also its technology has been used to secure large-scale events like the Super Bowl and in a Los Angeles Metro station. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
A TSA worker demonstrates new technology designed to detect explosives at Penn Station. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)

The equipment alerts security personnel to the presence of hidden explosives in a suicide vest or similar weapons. The device, which is triggered by an individual’s “naturally-occurring emissions from the human body,” sets off an alarm on the equipment operator’s laptop. 

This technology should help security officials keep railway stations and other “soft targets” safe — and efficient — for the hundreds of thousands of passengers who utilize the transit systems every day. “The use of these devices enables a rail or transit agency to help safeguard against terrorist threats in the mass transit environment,” the agency said in a statement.  

The TSA began testing the technology in the Los Angeles transit system in 2017. Following an attempted terror attack in December 2017 where a man detonated a pipe bomb in a Manhattan subway station, New York Senator Chuck Schumer strongly urged TSA to consider implementing the security measures in New York City.

The TSA, better known for the rigorous screening protocol found at airports across the US, doesn’t plan to implement similar measures any time soon.

“We don’t intend to roll out anything like [the security] we have in the airports,” said David Pekoske, TSA’s administrator. Pekoske said that random passenger checks and K-9 forces, coupled with other measures already in place, are sufficient for passenger protection. 

Featured photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

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