A new CNN report cites intelligence sources saying that ISIS and other terrorist organizations have developed the ability to plant explosives in electronic devices including laptops, making the explosives very difficult to detect using existing screening techniques.
Sources also suggested that terrorists now have advanced airport security equipment of their own, used for testing the bombs’ ability to go undetected. The laptops containing bombs, according to CNN, can even be turned on and function as laptops, helping them get past screeners.
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The new report goes further to explain a ban on electronic devices in the passenger compartments of flights from eight North African and Middle Eastern countries, implemented by the Trump administration last month.
Some sources initially attributed the ban in part to a specific plot to use fake iPads as bombs. But three intelligence officials confirmed to CNN that threat indicators were much broader, with an accumulation of ‘specific, credible, and reliable’ intelligence coming from a wide variety of sources.
The ban targets specific airports in Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, and the UAE. Those sites were selected, according to CNN sources, both because intelligence indicates they are a greater locus of security threats, and because they have looser or less consistently-enforced security protocols.