U.S. mulls widening electronics carry-on ban to European airports
The U.S. is considering expanding a ban on most carry-on electronic devices larger than a cellphone on U.S.-bound flights from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa to "likely" include flights departing for the U.S. from Europe and possibly the United Kingdom, sources tell CBS News.
The sources say Department of Homeland Security officials are weighing the advantages of expanding the ban against disruptions it could cause. Government officials have been meeting with U.S. airlines on a nearly weekly basis and intend to do so again later this week. Officials say a decision could come in the next few weeks.
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DHS officials have maintained since the initial electronics ban was announced in March that the policy was under active discussion and could be expanded.
The Transportation Security Administration told CBS News in a statement, "We have not made any decisions on expanding the electronics ban; however, we are continuously assessing security directives based on intelligence and will make changes when necessary to keep travelers safe."
Former top TSA officials indicate to CBS News that a laptop ban had been at least discussed for well over a year dating back to an attack on a Somali airliner. The sense then was a total or widespread ban was impractical and would lead to outcry from business travelers who may elect not to travel if they can't work on board.
Further issues include the amount of sensitive personal and professional information stored on laptops and tablets that would be suddenly forced into checked bags and the steep increase in the number of lithium-ion batteries in the cargo hold, which presents its own danger.
CBS News' Katie Ross Dominick, Andy Triay and Kris Van Cleave contributed to this report.
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