WASHINGTON (AP) -- At airports, the war on terrorism is being fought with 30-year-old weapons.
Metal detectors and X-ray machines used to screen passengers and carryon luggage date from the 1970s, when they were deployed to prevent hijackings.
They can't detect plastic explosives, such as those allegedly hidden in the shoes of a man aboard a Paris-to-Miami flight on Dec. 22. A passenger, Richard C. Reid, was arrested after American Airlines attendants allegedly saw him try to touch a lighted match to his sneakers.
"Most equipment that is deployed is a generation old," said Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., chairman of the House aviation subcommittee. "You need highly sophisticated equipment that will detect explosive materials."
Even the current metal detectors could be replaced with more modern equipment, former FAA security chief Billie Vincent said.
Developing and deploying such equipment will be the job of the new Transportation Security Administration, which is to take control of airline security by Feb. 19.
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