The Transportation Security Administration on Monday put into practice new screening requirements for cargo loaded from five majority Muslim nations: Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. In addition to regular security screening, airlines will now be asked to provide information like the origin, contents, and recipient of each item.
“These countries were chosen because of a demonstrated intent by terrorist groups to attack aviation from them,” an unnamed TSA official told CBS. “This is all intel driven.” The officials who spoke with CBS did not cite any specific intel that occasioned the change, with one commenting that the agency has not “necessarily seen anything ‘brand new’ in terms of a new threat.” Rather, the official said, the TSA is “seeing things and want to stay ahead of the threat that we’ve seen over the past nine months or so.”
The targeted nations are not the same as those listed in the latest iteration of President Trump’s travel ban, though six of those eight countries are also majority Muslim. They are, however, on the list of nations where passengers departing for nonstop flights to the United States were banned from bringing laptops and similar electronic devices into the cabin last year.