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Passengers on U.S. bound flights must power up: TSA

July 7, 2014, Washington, D.C. - Passengers at some overseas airports that offer U.S.-bound flights will be required to power on their electronic devices in order to board their flights, the Transportation Security Administration said Sunday.


July 7, 2014
By The Associated Press

The TSA said it is requiring some overseas airports to have
passengers turn on devices such as cellphones before boarding. It says
devices that won't power up won't be allowed on planes, and those
travellers may have to undergo additional screening.

 

"As the travelling public knows, all
electronic devices are screened by security officers," the TSA said in
the 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 Department of Homeland Security 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 travelling
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."

 

TSA will not disclose which airports will
be conducting the additional screening, although it will be at some
airports with direct flights to the U.S. Industry data show that more
than 250 foreign airports offer nonstop service to the U.S.

 

Aviation remains an attractive target to
global terrorists, who are consistently looking for ways to circumvent
aviation security measures, the DHS official said. Some details on
specific enhancements and locations are sensitive because U.S. officials
do not want to give information "to those who would do us harm," the
official said.

 

American intelligence
officials said earlier this week that they have picked up indications
that bomb makers from Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula have
travelled to Syria to link up with the al-Qaida affiliate there.

 

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula long
has been fixated on bringing down airplanes with hidden explosives. It
was behind failed and thwarted plots involving suicide bombers with
explosives designed to be hidden inside underwear and explosives
secreted inside printer cartridges shipped on cargo planes.

 

Over the past year, Americans and others
from the West have travelled to Syria to join the fight against the
Syrian government. The fear is that fighters with a U.S. or other
Western passport, who therefore are subject to less stringent security
screening, could carry such a bomb onto an American plane.