– Fear that terrorist organizations have developed bombs that can bypass security checks.
US intelligence fears that ISIS and other terrorist organizations have developed bombs that will be difficult to detect for modern security checks at airports, according to CNN.
Meanwhile US intelligence believes that terrorists have gained access to sophisticated safety equipment, which normally is used by US and European airports. This technology has been abused to develop explosives that can effectively be hidden in electronics – and bypass airport security, according to the news channel.
This intelligence information supposedly figured prominently when the Trump administration last month decided to ban passengers from several, mostly Muslim, countries to carry electronic equipment in their hand luggage.
– Intelligence information indicates that terrorist groups still plan targeted attacks against commercial aviation, and that this includes the smuggling of explosive devices hidden in electronics, according to a statement from the Department of Homeland Security.
Although the design of the bombs are advanced and should be made so that the devices continue to function, FBI tests indicate that it is possible to make explosives with completely mundane household items, according to CNN.
The intelligence information that led the authorities decided to impose a ban was ‘specific, credible and reliable’, three security officials confirms.
The prohibition is not of a political nature, and Trumps administration supposedly has not been alone in taking the decision. On the contrary: Several people associated with the aviation industry have been heavily involved in the decision.
The American restrictions prevent passengers from ten airports in the Middle East and North Africa from carrying electronic devices larger than a smart phone in their hand luggage.
The new US policy will affect a total of nine airlines from eight countries: Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Britain has followed the Americans’ ban and introduced similar restrictions on flights from Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Lebanon, according to NTB.
Mobile phones and medical equipment are excluded from the ban, but all other electronics, such as PCs, iPads, game consoles and cameras must be placed in checked in luggage.
The assessment US intelligence has made in recent months indicates that the US has greater confidence in the security checks at airports in the US and Europe, where advanced technology and training helps to reduce the risk, CNN reports. New information could lead to more countries being covered by the restrictions.
Bombs hidden in electronic devices have long been a concern for the airlines. In 1988, a Pan Am aircraft crashed at Lockerbie, Scotland, after a bomb hidden in a tape recorder went off in the baggage compartment.
All the 259 passengers and crew members were killed, as well as 11 people on the ground.
Last year the country a Daallo plane on its way to Somalia landed safely after a bomb hidden in an iPad was triggered in the cabin. Only the suicide bomber died. It must have been this terrorist attack that seriously aroused concern among Western intelligence, according to CNN.
Bennet Waters of the Chertoff Group said that electronic equipment can be as dangerous in checked baggage, but that security checks are more comprehensive.
In addition, he notes that it is harder to detonate a bomb located in the luggage compartment.
Waters says that mobile phones will probably be allowed because they are considered too small to hold enough explosives for an effective bomb.
Source: dagbladet.no / Norway Today