Schumer Calls for Bomb-Detecting Devices at Every Subway Station

December 18, 2017

The federal government is acting too slowly to protect transit facilities from suicide bombers, according to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Following the botched terror attack in a Times Square pedestrian tunnel last week, the senator is calling for the Transportation Security Administration to speed its rollout of a technology it believes can detect suicide vests or other wearable explosives before they are detonated.

“I am telling the TSA, ‘Wake up.’ Danger from suicide bombers is increasing. We need to be able to defend against them with increasing diligence and effectiveness,” said Schumer at a news conference Sunday night at the entrance to the Lexington Avenue-53rd Street subway station. “The idea that they [TSA] have technology is good. The idea that it’s taking them so long to develop it is bad.”

The screening technology, known as Stand Off Explosive Detection Technology, works by identifying objects that block the “naturally-occurring emissions” of a person’s body, according to the TSA. If someone passes by the device wearing an explosive device, an alarm sounds. The screener doesn’t emit radiation or send sensitive information to its operator — it displays an image of a person similar to what’s seen by the naked eye, the TSA said.

Schumer said he’d like to see the scanners installed at every subway station entrance as soon as the technology is perfected, adding that Congress would be willing to pay for related installation and testing costs.

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