Kelly: DHS considers banning laptops from all U.S. international flights

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly listens to opening statements before a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on May 25 in Washington, D.C. Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI | License Photo

May 29 (UPI) — Laptop computers may be banned from all international flights to and from the United States amid continuing terror threats to bring down airplanes, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Sunday.

“There’s a real threat — numerous threats against aviation,” Kelly said on Fox News Sunday. “That’s really the thing that they are obsessed with, the terrorists, the idea of knocking down an airplane in flight, particularly if it’s a U.S. carrier, particularly if it’s full of mostly U.S. folks.”

DHS already has limited laptops on airplanes, instituting regulations in March from 10 airports in eight Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and North Africa. The rules called for electronic devices larger than a cellphone — including laptop computers, game systems and cameras — to be stowed as checked baggage instead of available as carry-on luggage.

Kelly said a final decision hasn’t been made on new restrictions.

“It is a real sophisticated threat, and I’ll reserve that decision until we see where it’s going,” he said. “There’s new technologies down the road, not too far down the road, that we’ll rely on.”

The department’s Transportation Security Administration “might and likely will” intensify scrutiny of carry-on luggage, Kelly added, since travelers are packing more into them to avoid bag-checking fees.

Last week, TSA said it was preparing for a record number of passengers at airports this summer, as many as 2.5 million passengers per day. The agency also provided summer travel tips.

On Thursday, Kelly told a Senate subcommittee that a lot of funding will be needed to guard against attacks like the one in Britain this week.

“As horrible as Manchester was, my expectation is we are going to see a lot more of that type of attack,” he said. “We are watching a number of very sophisticated, advanced threats.”

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