U.S. media outlets say terrorist groups have been testing explosive
devices that can be hidden in a laptop and that can evade some commonly
used airport security screening methods.
CNN and CBS said Friday that U.S. intelligence officials had told them
militants with al-Qaida and Islamic State have been developing
innovative ways to plant explosives in electronic devices.
The news organizations said the new intelligence suggested that the
terror groups have obtained sophisticated airport security equipment to
test how to conceal the explosives in order to board a plane.
They said the intelligence played a significant role in the Trump
administration's recent decision to prohibit travelers flying out of 10
airports in eight countries in the Middle East and Africa from carrying
laptops and other electronic equipment onboard in the cabin area.
Devices banned on certain flights
this month, the U.S. government banned laptops and other large
electronic devices, including iPads and cameras, from the passenger
cabin on flights to the United States from 10 airports in Egypt, Jordan,
Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab
Emirates. Britain also took similar measures.
Passengers on those flights must place electronic devices larger than
cellphones in their checked luggage.
In a statement to media outlets, the Department of Homeland Security
said: "As a matter of policy, we do not publicly discuss specific
intelligence information. However, evaluated intelligence indicates that
terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation, to include
smuggling explosive devices in electronics."
CNN said the intelligence that contributed to the ban on electronic
devices was specific, credible and reliable, according to three
officials who used the same words to describe it. One official called
the intelligence "hair-raising."