TSA warns of hard-to-detect bombs

Homeland Security: Magazine story on bomb making prompts airport searches

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Department of Homeland Security announced ramped up searches at U.S. airport Tuesday, although the measures actually began a few weeks ago, a government official told CNN on Tuesday.

The enhanced measures for airport security are in response to a recent article in Inspire Magazine -- published by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula -- which described how to make bombs using household products.

The discovery of parts of a .22-caliber semi-automatic handgun packed in a PlayStation 2 is one of the Transportation Security Administration's latest checkpoint finds. The man who had the gun packed in his carry-on luggage was arrested December 17 on a weapons charge at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, the TSA said.

According to the official, the concern to aviation security stems from the threat of non-metallic IEDs only detectable by full body scanners, a technology that is not available at smaller airports, largely due to their cost.

The ramped up TSA measures include random passenger and luggage searches at the gate once passengers have gone through security checkpoint.

Some travelers at Jacksonville International Airport were concerned about new threats, while others didn't notice that security was any tighter.

"I was scared, simply because you never know," said Pat Graske, who arrived from Charlotte. "I actually don't like to fly ... because sooner or later they're going to get something through."

"They're usually pretty tight," said Mike McConnachie, who had just arrived on a flight from Canada. "I travel quite a bit, but it didn't seem any different."

The heightened security come amid a renewed threat by ISIS telling followers to "rise up and kill officers, soldiers and civilians."

Greg DiFranza, who retired after years as part of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Homeland Security department, said big cities are not necessarily the only targets of terrorists.

"Yes, New York, Chicago, Washington and those other major metropolitan areas are big events if that were to happen," DiFranza said. "But it's the small town ... that would be easier targets for them than the big cities."

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