US official mulling greatly expanded airplane laptop ban
02:53, May 29, 2017
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Kelly made his remarks during the Memorial Day weekend, one of the busiest travel periods in the United States, and at a time when the bombing at a concert in Manchester, England has raised concerns that further attacks - possibly involving explosives packed in electronic devices - might be planned.
When asked whether it is true that he has hinted the laptop ban could expand to US soil, Kelly said that those characterizations of his thinking are accurate.
He said terrorists are "obsessed" with the idea of "knocking down an airplane in flight, particularly a USA carrier, if it's full of mostly US folks".
"There's a real threat", Kelly said, adding that terrorists are "obsessed" with the idea of downing a plane in flight, "particularly if it's a USA carrier, particularly if it's full of mostly US folks".
The comments amplified what Kelly said Friday as he toured Washington Reagan National Airport on the eve of the busy summer travel season, when he said he was working with airlines and security officials throughout Europe and Asia to raise the bar on aviation security. But none wants an incident aboard one of its airplanes.
In the case of laptops, the administration is keeping the industry in the loop.
"We've had constant updates on the subject", he said. "I don't know why people do it but they do, and that's the world we live in". "So, we are doing everything we can to get after these threats - but they are real".
"The point is, they have a real threat and it's growing, it's metastasized, as fighters come back from the caliphate to be - I believe - to be more of this kind of thing", Kelly said.
"The more stuff is in there, the less the TSA professionals that are looking at what's in those bags through the monitors can tell what's in them", he said.
The TSA has begun testing certain new procedures at a limited number of airports, requiring people to remove additional items from carry-on bags for separate screenings.
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