wnol.info August 23 2017

U.S. weighs banning laptop computers on global flights

August 23 2017, 11:01 | Irvin Gilbert

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Sunday he's considering banning laptops from the passenger cabins of all worldwide flights to and from the United States.

Right now electronic devices larger than a cellphone are only banned from being allowed inside an aircraft cabin on some US -bound flights on seven foreign airlines.

Last week, Kelly told Fox News that if people knew the extent of the security threat to the United States, some people would "never leave the house".

"No, they didn't misread me", he answered. He said no decision had been made as to the timing of any ban.

Kelly said the move would be part of a broader effort to tighten airline security to combat what he called "a real sophisticated threat". "The very, very good news is again we are working incredibly close with friends and partners around the world ..."

"That's the thing that they are obsessed with, the terrorists, the idea of knocking down an airplane in flight, particularly if it's a USA carrier, particularly if it's full of US people".

And Kelly's comments came as President Donald Trump, writing on social media, said he had spoken with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May about the way the intelligence was handled.

The move would dramatically expand a ban announced in March that now affects roughly 50 flights per day from 10 cities - mainly in the Middle East and North Africa.

The decision to implement the policy in March came after new intelligence indicated that terrorist groups have "intensified" attempts to attack flights mid-air.

Two weeks ago, officials decided not to extend that ban to flights between the USA and European Union countries.

Kelly also said the United States is going to "raise the bar" for aviation security much higher than it is now.

Kelly told reporters Friday that the Federal Aviation Administration tracks safety issues while he oversees security, but he's been told that batteries in electronics should be safe in checked luggage so long as they are turned off and not rattling around loose.

The aviation sector is under constant threat from terrorist groups because of the ability to inflict a mass casualty event and the global media attention that follows.

The remains of a laptop bombs used in a 2013 terror attack against a hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia.

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