The Transportation Security Administration is considering forcing some air travelers heading to the US to power on electronic devices to prove they are not being used to detonate explosives.
Head of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said the agency “felt it important to crank up” security screening procedures for inbound US flights from certain countries.
The TSA posted new procedures on its website, saying TSA agents may ask that travelers power up some devices, including cell phones before boarding.
It also said powerless devices will not be permitted onboard the aircraft.
Johnson did not say what airports are being targeted as an extra security risk but admitted: “there remains a terrorist threat to the US and aviation security is a large part of that.”
Counterterrorism experts think the next generation of hard-to-detect bombs could be powered by rewired electronic devices, while other nonmetallic explosives are being developed which would be implanted surgically inside a traveler’s body.
“Our job is to try to anticipate the next attack, not simply react to the last one,” Johnson said.
Although TSA officials have not publicly disclosed other enhanced security screening measures, travelers departing from London to the US over the weekend reported extra scrutiny on laptops, tablets, cell phones and shoes.