TSA is facing new challenges from powerful explosives hidden in areas that usually can’t be searched until after dinner and a nice wine. No one is wild about the millimeter wave and backscatter machines that show how we’d look on the beach if we were dumb enough to wear Speedos. The “puffer” machines that tried to find traces of explosive vapor were a better idea in theory but they didn’t work well in realistic airport trials. What to do?
Turns out, there is an alternative. My favorite airport search technology while I was at DHS is at last being commercialized.
They have a great sense of smell, they can be trained a lot cheaper than dogs, they recognize more smells, and when they retire after a few days on the job, they make honey for you.
Plus, as far as I know, no tribunal has ever ruled that it’s a violation of international law to tell suspected terrorists, “Listen, buddy, either you talk to me or you’ll spend some time alone with my partners. Yep, looky there, they’re already extending their proboscises at the thought. You better make your mind up right quick.”