Homeland Security considers laptop ban for all flights in and out of the U.S.

Homeland Security Considers Laptop Ban for All Flights In and Out of the U.S.

Homeland Security Considers Laptop Ban for All Flights In and Out of the U.S.

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May 28 2017 6:01 PM

Homeland Security Considers Laptop Ban for All Flights In and Out of the U.S.

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Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly testifies before a Homeland Security subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 24.

Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters

Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly said he “might” move to ban laptops in carry-on luggage from all international flights. “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.” Regardless of whether laptops are banned in cabins, the United States is planning to “raise the bar” on security and improve screening of carry-on luggage.

“We are still following the intelligence," Kelly said, "and are in the process of defining this, but we're going to raise the bar generally speaking for aviation much higher than it is now.” In March, the Trump administration banned large electronic devices in cabins on flights from 10 airports, mostly in the Middle East. The ban, which requires any electronic devices larger than a smartphone to be checked-in, currently applies to nonstop flights to the United States from Amman, Jordan; Kuwait City, Kuwait; Cairo; Istanbul; Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Casablanca, Morocco; Doha, Qatar; and Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

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There have been rumors about a laptop ban for weeks, and on Thursday, Politico reported that airlines were getting ready for what they saw as an imminent rollout of the new restrictions. “We haven't gotten firm confirmation but by all accounts. It looks like we think they’re going to do it,” a U.S. airline source said.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.