BALTIMORE (WJZ)– There will be more screenings for every single commercial airline passenger flying into the U.S. because the Department of Homeland Security said it’s dealing with an “agile enemy” who’s brought down airliners before.
The changes will affect thousands of flights every day for 105 foreign countries starting at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday.
The use of bomb detecting dogs are expanding as well as heightened screenings of electronic devices such as laptops.
Homeland Security said failure to abide could mean consequences like the blocking airlines from operating in the U.S.
“With this announcement we send a clear message that inaction is not an option.Those who choose not to cooperate or are slow to adapt, adopt these measures could be subject to other restrictions,” said secretary John Kelly of Homeland Security.
The changes come after U.S. intelligence revealed terrorists have been experimenting with disguising bombs in laptops. Like when an explosive went off on a flight in Somalia last year.
Maryland Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger said the intelligence community has to act on what it knows.
“No one wants to get on an airplane and be concerned they might be blown up. So we are in a different world. We can work with other countries and we will if they can abide by the standards that we set up,” Ruppersberger said.
The changes will affect about 325,000 commercial flyers who land in the U.S. everyday, but some passengers at BWI questioned if they’re necessary.
“I think it’s unnecessary, I think we already have enough screening,” Michael Romanav said.
“It’s good to be sure here, but in another way it’s so complicated, so annoying when you’re a good person,” Vernardo Harris said.
Others seem more open.
“Well I think if they give a rational for that, then that makes sense,” said Cynthia Curry of Baltimore.
Officials say additional changes will be phased in, but they did not elaborate on the exact timeline.