Homeland Security chief considers banning laptops on all flights to and from US – Los Angeles Times
Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly said Sunday that he’s considering banning laptop computers from the passenger cabins of all international flights to and from the United States.
That would dramatically expand a ban announced in March that affects about 50 flights a day from 10 cities, mostly in the Middle East. The current ban was put in place because of concerns about terrorist attacks.
The ban forbids travelers from bringing laptops, tablets and certain other devices on board with them as carry-on items. All electronics bigger than a smartphone must be in checked luggage.
Kelly was asked on âFox News Sundayâ whether he would expand the ban to cover laptops on all international flights into and out of the U.S.
His answer: âI might.â
The current U.S. ban applies to nonstop U.S.-bound flights from 10 international airports in Amman, Jordan; Kuwait City, Kuwait; Cairo; Istanbul; Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Casablanca, Morocco; Doha, Qatar; and Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. About 50 flights a day, all on foreign airlines, are affected.
Earlier this month, there were reports that the Trump administration would broaden the ban to include planes from the European Union, affecting transatlantic routes that carry as many as 65 million people a year.
U.S. officials have said that initial ban was based not on any specific threat but rather on longstanding concerns about extremists targeting jetliners.
âThere’s a real threat,â Kelly said, adding that terrorists are âobsessedâ with the idea of downing a plane in flight, âparticularly if it’s a U.S. carrier, particularly if it’s full of mostly U.S. folks. It’s real.â
Kelly said that the U.S. is going âto raise the bar for, generally speaking, aviation security much higher than it is now, and there’s new technologies down the road, not too far down the road, that we’ll rely on. But it is a real sophisticated threat, and I’ll reserve making that decision until we see where it’s going.â