These devices are okay on planes — unless you're bringing them from these Muslim countries
Fresh off the heels of the Trump administration's revised attempt to ban Muslims from entering the United States, the Department of Homeland Security announced a new strategy on their never-ending quest to protect the country from potential terrorists.
On Monday, U.S. officials told Reuters the Transportation Security Administration will issue a ban on electronic devices larger than a cell phone as carry-on baggage for U.S. bound flights from ten airports in eight Muslim-majority countries. The ban was issued due to an "unspecified terrorist threat" made several weeks ago.
This means that if you are on a flight from Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to the U.S., you'll have to stuff your laptops, cameras, iPad and gameboy into your checked baggage. The electronics ban, however, does not apply to U.S. airline carriers flying from those eight Muslim-majority countries.
Congressman Adam Schiff, a ranking member for the House Intelligence Committee, and a California Democrat, released a statement backing the electronics ban.
"Over the weekend, I received an additional briefing by the Department of Homeland Security, and I fully support the new security precautions implemented by the Department over the weekend." Schiff said in the statement. "These steps are both necessary and proportional to the threat. We know that terrorist organizations want to bring down aircraft and have continued to employ creative ways to try and outsmart detection methods."
"Given the Trump administration's ongoing efforts to advance an indefensible Muslim ban in spite of multiple courts ruling against it, these new restrictions heighten concerns that this administration is subjecting individuals from Muslim-majority nations to arbitrary and discriminatory measures," Trita Parsi, president of the NIAC, said in a statement.
Parsi also said it wouldn't be out of the ordinary if foreign nationals not affected by Trump's Muslim ban would soon start to see further travel restrictions.
"Those impacted by these new carry-on restrictions — including Saudi Arabia and the UAE whose governments supported the Trump administration's Muslim ban — should be wary that this could be the first step toward more radical and overtly discriminatory measures targeting their nationals," Parsi added.
The electronics ban, as some have pointed out, doesn't necessarily make flying any safer. For instance, a laptop used as an explosive device is still dangerous when checked as baggage. Additionally, a potential terrorist could fly through an U.S. airline company and not have to comply with the electronics ban. There's legitimacy to those skeptical of the electronic ban's effectiveness, especially since there is absolutely no evidence — zero — that the TSA has successfully prevented a terrorist attack.