U.S. May Expand Laptop Policy to Flights From 71 More Airports

  • Passengers would be required to put them in checked baggage
  • U.S. first restricted electronics bigger than phones March 21

Is the Laptop Ban About Terrorism or Protectionism?

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said his agency is considering banning laptop computers from passenger cabins of flights to the U.S. from another 71 foreign airports, in an expansion of a policy announced in March.

Kelly didn’t name the airports under consideration during House testimony Wednesday and said no final decisions had been made. He said the number of airports may be reduced if they adopt electronics-screening procedures that the Homeland Security Department is developing.

The ban is necessary because of "a very, very real threat -- a very sophisticated threat," Kelly said at a House Homeland Security Committee hearing.

The agency on March 21 barred electronic devices larger than mobile phones from the cabins of flights from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa due to concern that terrorists could hide explosives in them. Passengers are required to store the devices in checked baggage.

The government is considering measures to protect against what it suspects is a growing capability by terrorist groups to hide explosives in smaller devices.

Kelly said U.S. officials have been in touch with counterparts in the European Union and elsewhere about crafting new standards for electronics searches.

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