TSA: Dead cell phones can no longer fly to the United States


Josh Peterson | Watchdog.org

Concern over bomb makers from Yemen boarding flights to the United States has encouraged the Transportation Security Administration to further scrutinize cell phones.

No charge? Your phone won’t fly with you.

CELL PHONE CHARGE: The TSA is no longer allowing passengers to board certain direct flights to the U.S. if their cell phone is not charged.

The Department of Homeland Security agency, which Congress created out of the ashes of 9/11, announced Sunday that at “certain overseas airports with direct flights to the United States,” TSA agents will step up security measures.

“As the traveling public knows, all electronic devices are screened by security officers. During the security examination, officers may also ask that owners power up some devices, including cell phones,” said the agency in a public statement.

“Powerless devices will not be permitted onboard the aircraft. The traveler may also undergo additional screening,” said the agency.

The TSA’s new policy comes at the behest of DHS secretary Jeh Johnson, who announced the new security measures Wednesday.

Over the past decade, TSA’s invasive security screenings have been the target of public and congressional outrage and scrutiny, and the efficacy of Johnson’s new directive remains to be seen.

Dylan Matthews at Vox.com argued in a May 26 piece that research even suggests the screenings, while possibly discouraging would-be hijackers, displaces actual attacks, forcing terrorists to attack through other means, such as bombings and taking hostages.

Contact Josh Peterson at jpeterson@watchdog.org. Follow Josh on Twitter at @jdpeterson