WASHINGTON — The U.S. government began notifying nine foreign airlines in the Middle East and Africa at 3 a.m. ET Tuesday that personal electronics larger than cellphones will be banned indefinitely in the cabins of about 50 direct flights daily to the U.S.
The secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, John Kelly, and the acting head of the Transportation Security Administration, Huban Gowadia, decided that greater security was needed based on intelligence about airlines that fly non-stop from 10 airports to the U.S., according to four senior administration officials who spoke to reporters on background to discuss security measures.
“Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorists continue to target commercial aviation and are aggressively pursuing innovative methods to undertake their attacks, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items,” said a senior administration official.
No imminent threat was reported. But the targeted airlines will have 96 hours to ensure that passengers stow all of their tablets, e-readers, DVD players, cameras, game units, travel printers and scanners — any electronics larger than a cellphone — in checked luggage rather than in carry-on.
The officials wouldn’t disclose why it was safer to have the electronics in cargo than in the cabin.
If an airline ignores the restrictions, security officials will ask the Federal…
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