(CNN) – U.S. intelligence officials believe ISIS and other terror groups have found a way to hide powerful explosives in electronic devices such as laptops. Intelligence officials also suggest that terrorists have stolen airport screening devices to learn how to conceal these bombs, finding ways to place them on commercial airliners undetected.
The new information may raise questions about why the ban is not broad enough. The intelligence comes amid heightened concerns that ISIS and Al Qaeda affiliated terror groups have perfected their ability to hide bombs in electronic devices
The new intelligence was a significant part of the decision earlier this month to ban laptops, tablets and other electronic devices from the passenger cabins of planes flying directly to the United States from 10 Middle Eastern and North African airports demanding instead they be stored in checked luggage
Sean Spicer said, “Elevated intelligence that we’re aware of indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation and are aggressive in pursuing innovative methods to undertake their attacks to include smuggling an explosive device in various consumer objects.”
Officials have said there was credible and specific intelligence ISIS would try to attack aviation assets. And a hint from a top U.S. Commander about why the accelerated effort on the ground in Syria against the group.
Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend said, “There’s an imperative to get isolation in place around Raqqa because our intelligence feeds tell us that there is significant external operations attacks planning going on emanating centralized in Raqqa.”
Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, for years has been actively trying to target commercial airliners destined for the U.S.
Spicer added, “Based on this information, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the TSA administrator determined that it’s necessary to enhance security procedures for passengers at certain last point of departure airports.”
Looking for ways to create bombs that contain little or no metal to evade airport security measures including hiding explosives in the batteries of electronic devices like laptops
In February 2016 there was a wakeup call when a laptop bomb, according to Somali authorities, was used to blow a hole in a Somali passenger jet. The plane landed safely despite the attack claimed by the Al Qaeda affiliate Al Shabaab.