"As a matter of policy, we do not publicly discuss specific intelligence information. However, evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation, to include smuggling explosive devices in electronics," the Department of Homeland Security told CNN in a statement. "The U.S. government continually re-assesses existing intelligence and collects new intelligence. This allows DHS and TSA to constantly evaluate our aviation security processes and policies and make enhancements when they are deemed necessary to keep passengers safe. As always, all air travelers are subject to a robust security system that employs multiple layers of security, both seen and unseen.
US authorities have said the electronics ban is focused on the eight countries in part because of intelligence indicating a greater threat there. Intelligence and law enforcement assessments done in recent months also indicate that, though the broader vulnerabilities exist, the US has more confidence in detection machines and security screeners at airports in the US and Europe. Advanced technology and training helps mitigate the risk.
When the electronics ban was announced, US officials told CNN they were concerned that terrorists had developed ways to hide explosives in battery compartments. But the new intelligence makes clear that the bomb-makers working for ISIS and other groups have become sophisticated enough to hide the explosives while ensuring a laptop would function long enough to get past screeners. Though advanced in design, FBI testing found that the laptops could be modified using common household tools.
US authorities reportedly believe that jihadist organizations have discovered innovative ways to insert explosives inside electronic devices that can evade common screening techniques used by most airports.
The intelligence gathered in recent months played a role in the Trump administration’s decision to issue bans prohibiting electronic devices such as laptops and tablets in the cabins on flights from several Middle Eastern countries, CNN said.
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