The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is now testing a new bomb detection technology at Penn Station meant to help identify suicide vests or other explosives that are strapped onto someone’s body.
The initiative begins Tuesday, Sen. Chuck Schumer announced. Schumer pushed for the TSA to test in New York City, he said in a statement, following an attempted subway attack in December.
“At long last and at not a moment too soon, the TSA has agreed to bring this new, potentially life-saving technology to New York City and Penn Station for testing, and so we thank the TSA for heeding the call,” Schumer said in a statement.
On Dec. 11, Akayed Ullah, 27, detonated a homemade explosive that was strapped to his body while in a subway tunnel between Port Authority and Times Square. The explosion occurred around 7:20 a.m., and Ullah himself was the only person severely injured.
“The ability to detect concealed explosives worn by cowards looking to do us harm – demands the federal government continue to put both the testing and the perfecting of this technology on the fast-track,” Schumer continued. “As the threats we face evolve our preparedness and response must evolve as well to remain a step ahead of evildoers.”
This TSA technology, which can help detect suicide vests or other “strapped-to-the-body explosive devices” before they actually detonate, had not been officially tested in New York City before this move.
As someone passes by the device, called “Stand Off Explosive Detection Technology,” it can detect the presence of a potential threat by evaluating “naturally occurring emissions from the human body,” according to the TSA.
It has previously been used for large-scale events like the Super Bowl, officials said, and in Metro stations in Los Angeles. It has not yet been permanently integrated into transit hubs.