Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said this Wednesday that based on a “real” threat, the US may expand the number of airports under a ban on large-electronics in carry-on luggage.
Kelly told a Senate committee that the decision to ban large devices by his agency, including laptops in carry-on luggage from 10 airports in eight countries, was based on a major concern.
“It’s real. I think it’s getting realer, so to speak,” Kelly said. “We may take measures in the not-too-distant future to expand the number of airports.”
Kelly maintained that the move, which affects flights from majorly Muslim countries, was not “because of the Muslim religion” or any other prejudicial reasons, but on the basis of certain threats.
Kelly also said that even though he briefed President Donald Trump about the plan, it was his entirely his decision and he made the move because of the threat.
“It’s a real threat. We know on any given day, there are dozens of cells that are talking about aviation, and you just watch them over time and see if they develop and they go from talking to actually doing something. So there’s a real threat all the time,” he said.
It was also reported on Tuesday that enhanced screening is now taking place at 14 airports in the United States.
Reportedly, the Department of Homeland Security is isolating and targeting certain aircrafts for enhanced screening upon arrival in the US, as part of the broader electronics ban the agency announced last month.
The enhanced security procedure has been taking place behind the scenes and was not publicized when the DHS announced the ban on electronic devices in the cabin of certain aircraft.
An inside source with knowledge of the procedures being followed for enhanced screening, has said that TSA is targeting flights coming from Middle Eastern and North African countries under the electronics ban. He said the flights are being screened with bomb sniffing dogs and other equipment.
CNN reported last month that terrorists have found new ways to develop bombs that could be concealed in laptops to evade airport security screening.