TSA Introduces New Safety Measures for Electronic Devices

U.S. officials say the new rules are necessary because of increased concern over possible terrorist threats in Iraq and Syria.
9:13 | 07/07/14

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Transcript for TSA Introduces New Safety Measures for Electronic Devices
New threats new rules from the TSA. If you're flying into the US from oversees. You better have a foundry I've had charged up because if it is not and you cannot turn it on and off. It is staying behind and you might as well look what I'm down Cutler and new Yorker article that security. Said last week that things were going to change well today we're learning more about those changes. Joining with -- -- -- ABC's Karen Travers live with the latest Karen. Good afternoon Dan US officials are worried about the fighting in Syria and Iraq that it could lead to the perfect breeding ground for terrorists to plot an attack. City bombing administration says these new security masters are absolutely necessary. It was a big deal in the US governments -- air travelers could keep their electronic devices on at takeoff and landing. Now the TSA has a new order for some international passengers heading to the US. Powerless devices will not be permitted -- board the aircraft. That means cell phones dvd players laptops and more all must be turned on at the gate -- seeking aboard the plane fly. Biggest concerns that bomb makers could be hiding explosives in those devices. They are small items -- budget takes very little explosives to penetrate the hall of -- -- aircraft and cause catastrophic damage. The fighting in instability in Syria and now in Iraq American officials worried that both countries have become a breeding ground for jihadist. Some with a passport they could allow for easy traveled to the US. I believe that we've taken the appropriate measures. To deal with the existing situation and not unnecessarily -- the traveling public. The TSA is now asking some of the 250 international airports with direct flights to the US. To have some passengers prove they can power up their devices before boarding. Last week US officials raised red flags that -- -- from Yemen may have traveled to Syria to. Connect with extremists there. It did he many bomb makers who were responsible for that failed underwear bombing plot. And the attempt to turn printer cartridges into bombs. -- the Obama administration says it's trying to anticipate the next attack not react to the last one -- So -- let me -- -- -- -- obviously you -- you travel for work you don't always have time to charge those devices so. What's gonna happen that for passengers the rushing to catch their flight the right way to the gate I mean in if you are tied to charge it up what are you to do. You don't have time charge it up but many people are cores using it up until the last second you know we've both been standing in those long lines waiting to board waiting in the Jack raised -- -- sitting there staring at their phones checking FaceBook checking Twitter. I think most people do have that extra battery that you can charge while you're waiting there. Or they're just gonna have to realize you cant play words with friends the entire time you're waiting for your flight if you're gonna at the turn off and turning back on and prove that it still has some juice left us. Some good advice for it there ABC's Karen terrorists in Washington with the latest on that -- thank you. I want to bring in now aviation military experts and commentary with ABC news retired colonel Steve scattered occur as early as we really appreciate this today. She is so when these decisions are made how to security official -- -- -- -- Means for travelers with the what they obviously see as a legitimate concern. Right so so -- it and sometimes the they've got a lot to go on from Intel sources and sometimes they have very little and we don't really know at this point what we have. As Karen was talked -- minute before the idea that we had. The potential for bombs that were put in the printer -- cartridges. Awhile back was very specific intelligence but here it may be one of those things where they're just getting some snippet of something a -- that says well maybe it's gonna go into something. That wouldn't have to be turned on or off for -- could look like Italy. Vice but the real key here is the intelligence officials probably have. Just a small snippet of something that they're going off of it got a pretty good idea about what cities it might be most likely coming from the threat but is just something here again there's -- sort of grasping at straws. Just making sure that they take away any opportunities that terrorists might have safety -- obviously for the TSA -- -- Department of Homeland Security as well. What happens though when you're making those kinds of changes to safety when -- effectively changing the industry as well as housed an operating what kind of -- -- -- an airline have. Knowing that there is potentially going to be lots -- angered passengers waiting in line it might potentially be turned away. The TSA always has to balance that what's what's the what they can do do to prevent a terrorist attack without. In convincing the flying public to a degree that makes them outrage so it's a balancing of of the threat vs what they can do about it. In this case is probably pretty good idea if they have a specific threat that says that -- would -- terrorists are trying to hide bombs on electronic. Things that might be brought into the cockpit it's just a good idea it shouldn't take too much longer and I'm sure there's still going to be looking at. People who are far more likely to do something it's not gonna be you know children taking their they're ipads on two -- airplane so. How how big the delay is will probably depend on how well developed the threat stream is. And what they really think -- the odds are but they do want the terrorists be put on notice. That hey we got an idea that this is one of your tricks with one of the things you're gonna attempt to try. And so we're gonna go ahead and try and block that at the gate one alas he's physically about it because as we just heard from Karen reporting -- the White House wants to be preventive not reactive. For the next attacked of the do we know at this point of any actual intelligence coming from Iraq. -- from Syria. We we don't but if you look at the way the TSA has has is put out press releases on this it's pretty specific they haven't name the cities. But we can guess they're probably cities like London where we've seen lots of terrorist tax emanate from. Perhaps Paris although cities where we've seen indigenous terrorist dead cells develop that have come over to attack the United States. And so they probably have something fairly specific here which is why they saying we're gonna power on and off devices. You know matier airplanes -- continue to be a target. That terrorists want to go after because terror the intent of terror. Is to create fear in the general public and nothing creates fear more than the idea of a bomb in the airplane especially somewhere out over. The North Pacific of the North Atlantic. So in this case he's continuing to have airplanes say -- airplanes be attracted to terrorists. Knowing that they're trying to do new things to get bombs onboard airplanes there was probably some snippet of -- of evidence or or intelligence that would have suggested this. And so while going for the gonna do those things still least put the terrorists on unnoticed. That they're looking out for their new tricks I'm speculate on this that that TSA and other related agencies review their security measures when they get some kind of a tip. That there could be a potential for some kind of threat in the near future but but what about on a regular basis and it is at an annual review. Of their security measures. They're they're they're constantly doing updates I mean it put yourself in a TSA in person -- a senior leader within TSA you know that every day there are bad people trying to take bad things on airplanes. And trying to conduct terrorist attacks so you have this constant fear about what am -- not looking at what do might not doing. Where's the next threat coming from but you know as you as you talked up before the have to balance that with the the needs of the flying public and not inordinately. Inconvenience them. In the end their travel so it's this balanced and passed a costly be played but there's a lot of responsibility on the senior leadership of homeland security and TSA in particular. In your mind than just how temporary. Is this kind of a change to the security review situation -- we're -- at the video of their people taking issues -- in their boots up in their belts off. In putting on a conveyor belt -- -- situation maybe many thought. Might it changed. At this point. How then quickly will things go back to we don't have to actually turn -- -- devices devices anymore. My guess is what's happening now on the intelligence community is what ever snippet of intelligence they got. That had caused them to raise the threat level. And -- to institute new procedures they're going back to try and run those leads to ground to go back and see -- it was a source credible or where this came from. Did we misunderstand something is -- a direct threat. Maybe they got it for particular country and a particular group gonna come in a particular country and sold will be looking to run down these -- just just like police forensics. And -- they'll try to find out how good this lead was what's it wasn't false lead. And if it was a good legal try to find out who might have been and thinking about her picture of trading. -- threat like this so it's it's just that it's a it's a it there there's a lot of friends six a lot of police like -- work in this. But it's probably a tip that -- intelligence community is working on right now. Thank you for thank you and of course you can keep up with the story real time by download -- ABC news -- star in the store for exclusive updates on the go. For now I'm -- that's -- New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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