Transportation Security Administration (TSA) administrator David Pekoske issued an emergency order Monday requiring stricter scrutiny of U.S.-bound cargo on flights from five majority Muslim countries.
TSA officials told Axios that the five countries—Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.)—were selected “because of a demonstrated intent by terrorist groups to attack aviation from them.”
Officials say that the order was “intel driven” but could not release any specifics about the threats.
Pekoske ordered six air carriers—EgyptAir, Qatar, Emirates, Royal Jordanian, Saudi, and Etihad—to implement strict screening measures for U.S.-bound air cargo called Air Cargo Advance Screening protocols (ACAS).
In most instances, ACAS is a voluntary program that gives TSA and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) advanced intel about the cargo aircraft carriers plan to ship to the U.S.
Carriers that comply with ACAS have to tell CBP the contents of what is being shipped to the U.S. and the names of the people sending the cargo.
“In close coordination with CBP, I directed specific carriers to implement strict security requirements based upon recent information that established a need to implement additional security measures for air cargo bound to the United States, on both passenger and cargo aircraft,” Pekoske told CBS News.
TSA expects that about 250 flights and seven airports in the five listed countries would be affected by the new requirements.