PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — You know the rules as you approach TSA screening: shoes off, electronics out, liquids limited. Some people don’t take too kindly to the inconvenience, finding the whole ordeal annoying.
But have you ever wondered why you have to do this to get through security?
“The main thing they’re looking for is explosives or things that can cause catastrophic harm to an aircraft,” said Michael McCarthy, TSA Spokesman.
McCarthy showed KDKA how ordinary items could conceal something dangerous, starting with an ordinary shoe.
“If you pull back this sole, inside it, there’s actually an improvised explosive device in the shoe,” he demonstrated.
Similarly in a laptop—
“In the CD-ROM, there’s an explosive that’s been placed there,” he said. “So they’re looking at these shoes or these laptops and they’re really trying to take a close look. Is there something there that doesn’t look familiar, what you’re not supposed to see in a laptop.”
McCarthy explained how scanning these items individually gives officers a clearer image of each one, allowing them to identify anything that doesn’t belong.
“We know our adversaries have innovative ways of trying to stay ahead of the curve to conceal these items in everyday, to conceal these explosives in everyday items,” he said.
And while lines can get long while screening and secondary screenings take place, some travelers like Donna Dunsey understand the need for it.
“I’m for helping whatever is needed,” she said. “It’s for United States’ safety and I have no qualms about it.”
“At the end of the day, they’re really just trying to make sure that everyone’s safe on the plane and these are the types of things they would be looking for, potentially concealed in an everyday item.”
The TSA could not say if they have any plans to add any additional items to the prohibited list or items that must be scanned, but did say they’re constantly checking with intelligence agencies to make sure that list is current and as safe as it can be.