Pistole: TSA on the lookout for PETN explosives

11/23/2010 | Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model)

Officials say aggressive new security procedures at U.S. airports are designed to catch terrorists using PETN, an explosive powder used in several recent aircraft bombing attempts. PETN has the consistency of popcorn salt, does not set off metal detectors and has a chemical composition that makes it difficult to detect with trace swabs. TSA Administrator John Pistole acknowledged on Monday that stepped-up security measures were partly designed to foil home-grown terrorists trying to "get ahold of a PETN device."

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