Counter-terrorism officials said Wednesday that airline passengers flying to the U.S. out of some airports in Europe and the Middle East can expect tighter security screenings due to new intelligence out of Yemen.
The officials told the Los Angeles Times that intelligence agencies recently discovered that an Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula bomb maker developed a technique for concealing explosives so they could go through body scanners, metal detectors, and pat-downs without being detected. The concern now is that this method could be used by Western fighters in Syria with valid passports and visas that could get them onto flights coming to the United States.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement he is ordering the Transportation Security Administration to start using enhanced security measures. "We will work to ensure these necessary steps pose as few disruptions to travelers as possible," he said. "Aviation security includes a number of measures, both seen and unseen, informed by an evolving environment."
The officials said the agencies did not have any details about a specific plot directed at any U.S. bound airlines.