Iowa Congressman Bruce Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo, says he is introducing legislation designed to improve airport security in the wake of the failed Christmas Day bombing attempt. He says the bill would require the secretary of the Homeland Security Department to report to congress on the use of explosives detection technologies that includes full body imaging technology, explosive trace detection technologies and canine explosive detection teams.
Braley says the report would also include a look at the effectiveness and privacy concerns of the technologies for their use in aviation security. Braley says he would also like a report on swabs used to detect explosives and whether they could be used on people.
Braley says the technology is widely available for checking carry-on baggage, but he has not seen any studies on whether it could be used to swab passengers on a shirtsleeve or hand to look for explosives.
His bill would also require a team that uses dogs to detect explosives at every commercial airport. Braley says he has no preconceived ideas about the types of technologies that would be effective, and wants the Homeland Security Department to make recommendations. He says there are various types of technologies being used and they want to know the most effective technologies to protect air passengers.
Braley was asked about the failure of the intelligence agencies to use available information to keep the so-called underwear bomber from getting on a plane in the first place. He says intelligence sharing or “interoperability” has improved dramatically since 9-11, but he says there was also a problem with sharing intelligence with other countries.
Braley says the whole issue of interoperability is not just one between U.S. intelligence agencies, but how the information is shared with allies around the world in the war against terror.
“So I think that we continue to learn and improve the system, but from this incident, we know we still have a lot of work left to do,” Braley says. Braley says it would take some time for the legislation he is proposing to move forward as congress first has to have hearings to review what happened in the Christmas Day bombing attempt.