Why The U.S. Is Banning Electronic Devices On Flights From Some Countries

Photographed By Erin Yamagata.
Are you planning on traveling from some countries in the Middle East and North Africa to the U.S.? Well, you might not be able to bring some electronics in your carry on due to a new ban imposed by the U.S. government.
Citing unspecified threats, the Trump administration issued a rule barring passengers on nonstop, U.S.-bound flights from eight countries from bringing laptops, tablets, electronic games, and other devices on board in carry-on bags.
Passengers flying to the United States from 10 airports will be allowed only cellphones and smartphones in the passenger cabins, senior Trump administration officials said. Larger electronic items must be checked.
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The rules took effect Tuesday morning and airlines will have until 3 a.m. EDT this Saturday to implement them or face being barred from flying to the United States, the officials said.
They said the decision was prompted by "evaluated intelligence" about ongoing potential threats to airplanes bound for the United States. The officials would not discuss the timing of the intelligence or if any particular terror group is thought to be planning an attack.
The Trump administration officials briefed reporters on the condition that they not be identified publicly. That was despite President Trump's repeated insistence that anonymous sources should not be trusted.
The electronics ban affects flights from international airports in Amman, Jordan; Kuwait City, Kuwait; Cairo; Istanbul; Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Casablanca, Morocco; Doha, Qatar; and Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. About 50 flights a day, all on foreign carriers, will be impacted. The officials said no U.S.-based airlines have nonstop flights from those cities to the United States.
Brian Jenkins, an aviation-security expert at the Rand Corp., said earlier that the nature of the security measure suggested that it was driven by intelligence of a possible attack. There could be concern about inadequate passenger screening or even conspiracies involving insiders — airport or airline employees — in some countries, he said.
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly phoned lawmakers over the weekend to brief them on aviation security issues that have prompted the impending electronics ban, according a congressional aide briefed on the discussion. The aide was not authorized to speak publicly about the issue and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
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