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The all-hands search for true air safety

Brian Williams, anchor and managing editor

What I shared with you last time remains the case: I don't think any of us has had a single less-than-spectacular experience here in Vancouver—and certainly not a negative contact with a Canadian! For all the reporting (including our own) on glitches, things are running remarkably smoothly. While some big-ticket events have been delayed, and while some American medal hopes have been dashed, we are happy for all the individual stories.It is impossible not to get caught up in the happiness when the Canadians win a medal, especially a gold medal.You've seen perhaps that barge over my shoulder at our harbor side camera location? When Canada scores a gold, those rings sparkle and change colors. Ship horns blast in the harbor. You can hear a roar go up through the crowd (all of them linked, in some way electronically to the games and results—either by radio, portable TV or the ubiquitous giant TV flat screens throughout downtown Vancouver), and you can count the seconds until those filling the local bars make their way outside to scream their lungs out. We celebrate Canada's victories because they are such polite, welcoming and decent hosts—and because we know their medal history at the Winter Games. There is so much "CANADA" merchandise being worn here—and when they run out of Canadians to wear it, everyone starts wearing it, including the couple from Lithuania I met two nights ago, and the couple from Germany I met today. Of course, in some sports (hockey, curling, etc) national pride and rivalries would prohibit even the thought—on the part of even the most casual fan—of wearing anything but the home team colors.

As I survey our choice of stories for tonight, one stands above the rest as the most interesting: The TSA announcing plans to swab the hands of airline passengers looking for traces of explosives. As veteran readers remember, I had a positive "hit" for TNT after returning from Afghanistan—I had a gift in a Ziploc bag that had been handed to me by an American commander just off the firing range.  His hands and gloves and uniform were covered in gunpowder—which then got all over the inside of my carry-on—which then triggered the swab test at National Airport in D.C.

Recently, Nightly News investigated the controversy surrounding full-body scanners...hand swabs will be the next topic of discussion. The TSA was last in the news after this apology. It's another thing for airline passengers to get used to.  And most will say the same thing: It's a small price to pay if it makes us safer.

We hope you can join us tonight.