Shoes of Airline Passengers Flying Into U.S. to Get More Scrutiny

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    Passengers flying into the United States from overseas can expect more scrutiny at security checkpoints. NBC 6’s Gilma Avalos has the story from Miami International Airport. (Published Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014)

    Passengers flying into the United States from overseas can expect more scrutiny at security checkpoints.

    It follows a Department of Homeland Security warning to airlines that terrorists may attempt to hide explosives in shoes. The agency says both shoes that passengers wear and shoes in carry-on bags must be X-rayed. It is also urging airlines to use the swabs that check for traces of explosives on footwear.

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    "This is a change. Unlike travelers in the United States who are used to taking their shoes off, at many airports overseas, that is not required. And this will of course require more screening of shoes, both on people and potentially in their carry-on," said NBC News counterterrorism analyst Michael Leiter.

    International travelers like James Barbosa say they don't mind the inconvenience.

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    "20 minutes more, and it’s [for] everyone's security," Barbosa said at Miami International Airport.

    "I always think it’s important. Anything that's going to help my security that's going to keep me and my family, especially my family that travels so secure. I don't care how long I have to wait, if I have to be at the airport three hours before I'm going to do it," said April Bieber, who travels frequently.

    The familiar threat conjures up memories of the so-called "shoe bomber." Back in 2001, just before Christmas, Englishman Richard Reid boarded a flight from Paris to Miami with explosives hidden in the soles of his shoes. The attempt failed when the material did not detonate, likely because the fuses got wet.

    Officials say with the latest intelligence there is no indication of a specific plot.

    It was just two weeks ago that officials warned that terrorists might try to hide explosives in tubes of toothpaste on flights to Russia from the U.S. and other countries. But this new threat is not believed to be related to the Sochi Olympics.

    Passengers on domestic flights likely won't notice a change. Travelers say it's a constant reminder that our country is a target.

    "I'm alarmed all the time. It’s bad," Randy Rothenberg said.