Keep taking those shoes off — for now

/ Source: The Associated Press

You'll still have to take off your shoes when you go through airport security.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Tuesday that technology currently available doesn't allow screeners to adequately examine what is in someone's shoes while the person is wearing them.

While that could change one day, for now the Transportation Security Administration doesn't have plans to end the shoe-removal requirement, which was implemented after Richard Reid tried but failed to ignite a shoe bomb on a U.S.-bound trans-Atlantic jetliner in 2001.

Napolitano spoke in a live online video chat with travelers about the Obama administration's aviation security efforts.

The 9/11 attacks and the shoe bomber incident prompted tighter security at US airports, as did a failed attack this past Christmas aboard a Detroit-bound airliner.

Some air travelers have raised privacy questions about the full-body scanners that have been popping up at more airports. TSA also has increased the hand swabs that screeners are using to check passengers for traces of explosives.

Napolitano said officials are focused on making the public aware of the security measures and comfortable with them.

Our cartoonists take a wry look at airport security and anti-terrorism measures.

She was asked about air marshals on aircraft and the prohibition against people without tickets going through security and meeting arriving passengers at their gates.

Napolitano said she doesn't know if air marshals will one day be on every international flight. On the gate area issue, she said the gate is designed to be a secure area where only ticketed passengers are allowed.

"It may be possible to change that as we move forward, but right now I can't say that," Napolitano said.