January 5, 2010
Posted: 08:55 PM ET
London, England (CNN) - London's Heathrow Airport will introduce more body scanners within weeks, and all British airports must have equipment to detect explosives by the end of the year, British Home Secretary Alan Johnson said Tuesday.
Johnson - whose responsibilities include domestic security - was speaking in response to the failed effort to blow up a plane en route to Detroit, Michigan, on Christmas Day. The suspect in the thwarted attack, Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, had studied in Britain.
The British government had no evidence AbdulMutallab, 23, of Nigeria, had been planning an attack, and believes he was "radicalized" after he left Britain, Johnson said.
British security services investigated AbdulMutallab's communications with UK-based individuals they had under observation while he was living in London, but judged that he did not then pose a danger.
Those individuals were among 2,000 terror suspects British security agencies currently keep watch over, according to a senior British counter-terrorism source.
Johnson said the government was directing airports to carry out more random searches of passengers because metal detectors cannot spot explosives without metal parts.
British airports will also use more sniffer dogs to try to find explosives, Johnson said in a speech to the House of Commons.
"It is an issue of grave concern that the explosive device was not detected by airport security in either Lagos (Nigeria) or Amsterdam (Netherlands)," which AbdulMutallab passed through en route to Detroit, Johnson said.
The government is also considering "additional targeted passenger profiling," Johnson said.
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