Tighter Airport Security for Holidays

By: CBS
By: CBS

First you had to take off your shoes... Then you had to give up your drinks. Now airport security has its eye on something else to keep the terrorists from striking.

Airport screeners are closely inspecting insulated drink containers – to make sure explosives aren’t hidden inside.

Officials say there is no intelligence suggesting an imminent plot involving thermos bombs.. but they are trying to stay a step ahead of possible terrorist tactics.

"We're going to do our best to disrupt these plots and their plans before they ever make it to the homeland," said John Brennan, White House Counterterrorism advisor.

Last Christmas Day, al Qaida operative Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab allegedly tried to blow-up a Detroit-bound plane with a bomb hidden in his underwear.

The primary concern this holiday season is that terrorists will again try to smuggle explosives on airplanes. Leaders of the nation’s security and counter-terrorism agencies held a call to review measures for heightened vigilance.

“I’d say the threat is greater today,” said Steve Emerson, Executive Director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism. “As far as our capabilities they are also growing.”

The more than 44 million travelers moving through U.S. airports during the holiday season are facing tighter security measures than last year – fully body scans and more invasive pat-downs.

“It seems intrusive when you look at it, but we have got to do what we need to do,” said Robert Bethea.

“It brings us some comfort,” said John Campbell. “I don't necessarily know if I’m safer”

The heightened vigilance extends to Europe where all major cities have raised their alerts.

A pair of package bombs at embassies in Rome made security even tighter at the Vatican where the Pope is leading Christmas services.

Security is especially tight around the Pope, after a man lunged at him during midnight mass last year.


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