TSA: Some on US-Bound Flights Must Turn On Phones

By: AP
By: AP
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.

(Eugene Hoshiko, AP Photo, File)

July 7, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — 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 (TSA) said Sunday.

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 travelers may have to undergo additional screening.

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 (DHS) official, who was not allowed to discuss the changes publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

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 traveled to Syria to link up with the al-Qaida affiliate there.

Over the past year, Americans and others from the West have traveled 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.


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