Travelers flying into a U.S. airport from Europe or vice versa may no longer be able to bring their laptops onboard with them if the Department of Homeland Security goes through with a proposed laptop ban. John Kelly, department secretary, said on Fox News Sunday that he has not yet reached a decision on it.
Laptops in carry-on luggage have been off-limits for incoming flights from the Middle East and northern Africa since March. This latest proposal would extend the ban to flights to and from Europe, as well. Homeland Security has not cited any specific threat to justify the proposed ban, but some intelligence analysts have suggested that Islamic State terrorists could hide explosives within laptop batteries.
“That’s really the thing that they’re 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,” Kelly said. He added that carry-on luggage in general will probably be subject to heightened scrutiny, as well.
Kelly did not say when he expects to reach a decision. But his comments follow a May 24 statement by a DHS spokesperson who said to the contrary that the department was not actively considering a laptop ban for flights leaving the United States. That spokesperson acknowledged that the department was, however, considering banning laptops from flights arriving to the United States from Europe.
The United States is not the only country to consider such measures. Great Britain now bans carry-on laptops from flights incoming from Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Tunisia.