In March, restrictions were announced that prevented U.S.-bound passengers from eight Middle Eastern countries from carrying certain electronic devices in the passenger cabin. The TSA order, which does not have a stated end date, covers laptops, tablets, e-readers, cameras, portable DVD players, and handheld gaming devices larger than a smartphone.
However, those restrictions could also soon include flights departing from the United States, according to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, who spoke briefly to reporters on Friday.
When asked whether it is true that he has hinted the laptop ban could expand to US soil, Kelly said that those characterizations of his thinking are accurate.
“No, they didn’t misread me,” he answered. “I would tell you that the threats against passenger aviation worldwide are constant. The good news is that we have great intelligence collection overseas — US intelligence collection. We also have great sharing with partners overseas. So, we are doing everything we can to get after these threats — but they are real.”
As with the original ban, the U.S. officials declined to comment on any new or specific threats, but implied that the decision had been made on evaluated intelligence.
The original ban applies to Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. The nine airlines impacted by that order are Royal Jordanian, EgyptAir, Turkish Airlines, Saudia, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Ethiad Airways. The United Kingdom issued a similar ban covering flights from six countries shortly after the U.S. announcement.
Last week, Politico reported that U.S. airlines are making preparations for an “imminent” expansion of the ban to Europe and possibly other regions.
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