A requirement that passengers on U.S.-bound flights power up electronic devices at overseas airport security checkpoints is being expanded to some fliers on domestic flights, government officials say.
The Transportation Security Administration called for the increased security measures earlier this month for travelers on direct flights from the Middle East, Europe and Africa, amid fears that terrorists have developed new bomb-making technology.
Now selected travelers on domestic flights will be asked to prove that their electronic devices can power up.
"During the security examination, officers may also ask that owners power up some devices, including cellphones," a Department of Homeland Security official said. "Devices selected for this screening that are unable to power up will not be permitted onboard the aircraft. The traveler may also undergo additional screening."
Government officials stress that the new security measure won't be imposed on every travelers but will primarily target passenger on a federal terrorism "watch list."
Counterterrorism experts have recently told the Los Angeles Times that a bomb maker working for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula had created a technique for hiding explosives that could evade existing metal detectors, body scanners and pat-downs.
Officials are concerned that the method could be shared with rebel fighters in Syria who are from Western nations and might have valid passports and visas that would allow them to board a flight to the U.S.