Nightly News   |  February 17, 2010

Airport security to start random hand-screenings

The TSA announced Wednesday they will soon begin randomly screening the palms of passengers, taking chemical swab samples to pick up signs of any explosives that travelers may have come in contact with. NBC's Tom Costello reports.

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>>> begins now.

>>> good evening. at these olympic games today, security emerged as an issue. more on that in just a moment. first here tonight, we learned today there is more airport security coming soon to an airport near you. you can blame the young man accused of trying to blow up a plane in mid air on approach into detroit. the tsa, the airport security folks today announced they will gin randomly screening the palms of passengers beginning soon. roving inspectors in u.s. airports will start taking chemical swab samples of travelers' hands to try to pick up signs of any explosives that travelers might have come in contact with. this is a new development. we begin with nbc's tom costello in washington. tom, good evening.

>> reporter: hi, brian. this new procedure comes after the attempted bombing of that delta northwest flight 253 from amsterdam to detroit on christmas day. the tsa says these screenings will be random. pulling passengers aside and swabbing their hands with a cotton material, then putting that swab through a director looking for any traces of explosive residue. the tsa already does this on hand luggage pull add side for secondary screenings. now, this technique will be used on the hands themselves. the tsa recently tested the technique over a two-week period at five different airports, atlanta, orlando, raleigh, as well as pitt greenville, north carolina , and coastal carolina regional airport in north carolina , as well. it takes just a few seconds. usually happens in and around tsa check points, and perhaps even the gate. there have been other security enhancements since december. more dog teams, more federal air marshals , more behavioral profiling seen and unseen, all designed to make it hard for terrorists to predict when and where they might be spotted.

>> tom costello with yet another change coming at the airport, from our washington newsroom. thanks.

>>> on the subject of security,