WASHINGTON — Passengers at some overseas airports that offer U.S.-bound flights will soon be required to power on their electronic devices in order to board their flights. The measure is intended to enhance aviation security at a time of increased threats.
The Transportation Security Administration says it is adding the requirement that passengers coming to the U.S. from some airports must turn on devices such as cellphones before boarding. It says devices that won’t power up won’t be allowed on planes and those travelers may have to undergo additional screening.
“As the traveling public knows, all electronic devices are screened by security officers,” the TSA said in the Sunday release announcing the new steps.
American intelligence officials have been concerned about new al-Qaida efforts to produce a bomb that would go undetected through airport security. There is no indication that such a bomb has been created or that there’s a specific threat to the U.S.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson recently ordered the TSA to call for extra security measures at some international airports with direct flights to the United States. TSA does not conduct screening abroad, but has the ability to set screening criteria and processes for flights flying to the U.S. from abroad, according to a Homeland Security Department official, who was not allowed to discuss the changes publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
During an interview aired Sunday on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” Johnson declined to speculate on whether new security procedures called for overseas will be required at domestic airports in the future.
“We continue to evaluate things,” he said. “The screening we have right domestically from one domestic airport to another is pretty robust, as the American traveling public knows. In this instance we felt that it was important to crank it up some at the last point of departure airports and we’ll continually evaluate the situation.”