DHS secretary: Electronics ban may be expanded to flights departing US

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

DHS Secretary John Kelly confirmed to CNN Friday that he is considering expanding the ban on large electronics in airplane cabins to include on flights departing from the US to overseas.

If that happens, it would mean any electronic device larger than a cell phone would not be allowed on flights leaving the US, not just certain inbound US flights, as is currently the case. Kelly was at Reagan National Airport, meeting and shaking hands with TSA agents and speaking briefly on camera to reporters.

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.

“No, they didn’t misread me,” he answered. “I would tell you that the threats against passenger aviation worldwide are constant. The good news is that we have great intelligence collection overseas — US intelligence collection. We also have great sharing with partners overseas. So, we are doing everything we can to get after these threats — but they are real.”

The original ban affects certain US-bound flights, including those originating in Cairo, Egypt; Dubai and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Istanbul, Turkey; Doha, Qatar; Amman, Jordan; Kuwait City; Casablanca, Morocco; and Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. But Kelly signaled this month that he’s looking at possibly expanding the ban due to security concerns.

Kelly said Friday that he implemented the original ban “based on intelligence from a certain part of the world — sophisticated threats,”

He added, “So, we are now looking at kind of a world-wide hard look at raising the bar, the minimum bar, on aviation security.” Kelly said he would make a decision on expanding the ban “when the time is right.”