Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said he “might” ban all laptops from international flights departing from and arriving in the U.S. on Fox News Sunday.
“Are you going to ban laptops from the cabin on all international flights both into and out of the U.S.?” host Chris Wallace asked.
“I might,” Kelly replied.
Asked to expand on his answer, Kelly continued: “Well, there’s a real threat. Numerous threats against aviation, 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, people. It’s real.”
“You know that I implemented, I think on the 21st of March, a restriction on large electronic devices in the cabins from ten points of origin,” he said.
Kelly declined to say when he may decide whether or not to implement the laptop ban but said more stringent security measures will be put in place in all U.S. airports.
“[W]e are going to raise the bar for generally speaking aviation security much higher than it is now… and there’s new technologies down the road, not too far down the road that we will rely on,” he said. “But it is a real sophisticated threat, and I will reserve that decision until we see where it’s going.”
Kelly also said that he will “likely” order all airports to enact more security measures for carry-on bags: Passengers will have to open up their bags and place papers, food, electronics and other items in separate bins.
“The reason we’ve done that is because of—people trying to avoid the $25 or $50 or whatever it is to check a bag are now stuffing your carry-on bags to the point of, you know — well, they can’t get any more in there,” Kelly said. “So, the more you stuff in there, the less the TSA professionals that are looking at what’s in those bags through the monitors, they can’t tell what’s in the bags anymore.”
“So, are you going to do that nationwide?” Wallace asked.
“We might, and likely will,” Kelly replied. “[W]hat we’re doing now is working out the tactics, techniques, and procedures, if you will, in a few airports to find out exactly how to do that with the least amount of inconvenience to the traveler.”
Earlier in the interview, Kelly said attacks on airliners were terrorists’ highest priority. “The most sophisticated that we look at, that is against aviation, that’s the hardest to do but it’s the biggest payoff for these people,” he said.
Muslim fighters with the Islamic State have reportedly developed explosives that can be planted within laptops and cannot be detected by regular airport security — security which was largely implemented after the September 11 terror attacks carried out by fellow Muslims against Americans.