Less than a week after two federal courts blocked the Trump Administration’s second attempt at restricting entry to the United States for the nationals of six predominately Muslim countries, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a mandate that regulates the travel of people from another set of mostly Muslim countries.
As of today (March 21), people flying into the U.S. on direct flights from 10 airports in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates must check electronic devices larger than a phone—including tablets, laptops, e-readers, cameras, gaming devices and portable DVD players—before boarding. Travelers will still be allowed to carry smartphones and essential medical devices on board. The eight countries are different from the ones targeted in the “Muslim Ban.”
Per CNN, the impacted airlines are Egyptair, Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways, Kuwait Airways, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines and Turkish Airlines. U.S. officials said that no U.S. carriers are included in the indefinite ban because they do not fly directly to the States from the impacted airports. The carriers have 96 hours to comply, or they risk losing permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly into the country. The rule will be “reviewed” on October 14.
— CNN International (@cnni) March 21, 2017
CNN reports that officials say there is no specific terrorist plot that they are trying to thwart, but that: “the move is partly based on intelligence that they believe indicates Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is close to being able to hide explosives with little or no metal content in electronic devices in order to target commercial aircraft.”
Reuters reports that on a press conference call, DHS spokesperson Gillian Christensen said the agency “did not target specific nations. We relied upon evaluated intelligence to determine which airports were affected.”