July 26, 2017 The TSA announced on Wednesday stricter screening rules for electronic devices at airports. The enhanced security measures are expected to be in place at all U.S. airports by the end of the year.
Previously, the TSA electronic screening rule required only laptops to be removed from customer’s carry-on luggage for separate screening. The new rule will apply to all electronic devices larger than cellphones.
The enhanced security rules will only affect travelers in standard security lanes – not travelers who are enrolled in the “pre-check” program.
The Transportation Security Administration claims the x-ray technology in airport scanners give TSA screeners a better chance to detect hidden bombs. However, even with specific intelligence from the Saudi government regarding two packages en route to Chicago from Yemen containing explosives in 2010 — authorities said the devices hidden inside printer toner cartridges were extremely difficult to find.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced earlier in 2017 that recent intelligence suggests both al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Islamic State and affiliated groups are testing undetectable explosives hidden in laptops and other electronic devices. In January, evidence discovered during a raid on an AQAP compound in Yemen prompted the U.S. and United Kingdom to ban electronic devices larger than a cellphone from certain flights from the Middle East and Africa.
In recent years, dozens of independent investigations and even internal investigations by U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) have found TSA screening woefully inadequate. In 2015, undercover TSA agents were able to smuggle banned items through screening in 67 out of 70 tests conducted at airports across the nation.
Cynthia Hodges holds a M.A. in Political Science from NEIU in Chicago, Illinois and a Post-Grad Professional Certificate in Disaster and Terrorism Management from University of North Carolina -Chapel Hill. In addition to a successful writing career, Cynthia is in the process of writing a book on the role of private security guards as first responders in the post 9/11 America. "My career has been a balance of security and education, and my passion for Homeland Security while protecting individual's Constitutional rights has grown as a result of the two."