The long-running saga of whether or not the Department of Homeland Security will expand its laptop ban to include non-stop flights from Europe drags on.
On Tuesday, Politico reported that DHS has declined to implement an expanded laptop ban.
However, DHS spokesman David Lapan told Business Insider in an email that the "story is absolutely wrong".
In a statement to Business Insider, the DHS wrote:
"While a much-discussed expansion of the ban on large electronic devices in the cabin on flights to the United States was not announced today, the Secretary made it clear that an expansion is still on the table. Secretary Kelly affirmed he will implement any and all measures necessary to secure commercial aircraft flying to the United States – including prohibiting large electronic devices from the passenger cabin – if the intelligence and threat level warrant it."
The Politico report contradicts Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly who said on Fox News over the weekend that the ban "might" happen.
"There's a real threat — numerous threats against aviation. That's really the thing that they are obsessed with, the terrorists, the idea of knocking down an airplane in flight, particularly if it's a U.S. carrier, particularly if it's full of mostly U.S. folks," Secretary Kelly said on Fox News Sunday.
This follows an announcement by Lapan on Friday in which he stated that there's no imminent change to the agency's existing ban on large electronics.
In March, the DHS implement a ban on all electronics larger than a cell phone for non-stop flights to the US originating from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa.
"Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation and are aggressively pursuing innovative methods to undertake their attacks, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items," a senior administration official said in March.
In total, the existing ban affects roughly 50 flights a day operated by nine airlines. However, an expanded ban on flights from Europe would affect as many as 400 non-stop flights from 49 airports operated by 53 airlines.
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