Flying to the U.S.? Make Sure Your Cellphone Is Charged.

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 6 2014 4:55 PM

Flying to the U.S.? Make Sure Your Cellphone Is Charged.

You may have to turn on your laptop.

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

Passengers traveling to the United States from some overseas airports could be asked to turn on their electronic devices to confirm that they’re operational. “Powerless devices will not be permitted onboard the aircraft,” the TSA said today in a news release. “The traveler may also undergo additional screening.” The government “felt it was important to crank ... up” security at overseas airports, Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson told NBC News on Sunday. “This is not something to overreact to or overspeculate about. But it's something we felt was necessary.” The TSA has not disclosed which airports would see additional screening.

Although there are no specific threats, U.S. officials are concerned about bombs that could pass undetected through airport screening. Electronic devices are a particular concern, as experts believe they could be rewired to explode as soon as they’re turned on but look completely normal to the naked eye. Officials have reportedly been concerned “that bomb-makers from both the Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and the Islamist Nusra Front, an al-Qaida affiliate in Syria, had been collaborating to develop the explosives and plots to detonate them,” notes the Guardian.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.


The World

How Canada’s Shooting Tragedies Have Shaped Its Gun Control Politics

Where Ebola Lives Between Outbreaks

Gunman Killed Inside Canadian Parliament; Soldier Shot at National Monument Dies

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Paul Farmer: Up to 90 Percent of Ebola Patients Should Survive

Is he right?


“I’m Not a Scientist” Is No Excuse

Politicians brag about their ignorance while making ignorant decisions.


Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

In Praise of 13th Grade: Why a Fifth Year of High School Is a Great Idea 

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

  News & Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
Gentleman Scholar
Oct. 22 2014 5:54 PM May I Offer to Sharpen My Friends’ Knives? Or would that be rude?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
Brow Beat
Oct. 22 2014 10:39 PM Avengers: Age of Ultron Looks Like a Fun, Sprawling, and Extremely Satisfying Sequel
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.