DHS announces new aviation security measures

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Travelers place items in a bin before passing them through an x-ray machine at a TSA security checkpoint prior to flying. (CNN)

WASHINGTON — Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly announced new global aviation security measures Wednesday regarding overseas airports that have direct flights to the United States.

One airline industry source told CNN the DHS aviation security measures will be “seen and unseen.”

The airline industry is expecting several things, the source said, including requiring better vetting of airline employees, better interviewing of passengers before boarding aircraft, increased use of K9 dogs and explosive trace detection equipment.

DHS would not detail all of the new security requirements for security reasons. Agency officials speaking on background said the measures are a directive for airlines to follow since DHS does not have jurisdiction over foreign airports. However, they do have jurisdiction over air carriers with direct flights to the US.

DHS said that if carriers refuse to follow the new security measures they could face financial penalties, be included in a laptop ban or be banned from operating direct flights to the United States. The agency says the move is a way to address the threat that intelligence suggests is looming without having to do an all-out laptop ban.

Earlier this month, Kelly told CNN that the 10 airports that were first hit with the laptop ban would be given an opportunity to get off the list if they took certain measures. DHS says countries currently under the laptop ban can get off the list if the new measures are implemented all at their airports.

DHS did not give a solid date for when the new measures would go into effect, saying only it will be up to the airlines to determine how quickly they can get up to speed.