Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson left open the possibility that the Transportation Safety Administration could ban carry-on luggage on airplanes.
On Thursday, Johnson was asked about recent reports that the TSA, which falls under the control of DHS, is considering the ban in the face of threats made by terrorist groups.
“There have been some credible news reports that the TSA is considering a ban of carry-on luggage because of intelligence that Al Qaeda was plotting to take down some planes. Do you think that could happen in this country – a ban on carry-on bags?” CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Johnson.
“Well, without a doubt our counter-terrorism efforts and concerns continue to focus to a degree on aviation security which is the reason why we directed certain enhancements at airports overseas, in our screening of people before we get on airplanes, and we continually evaluate whether more is necessary without unnecesarily burdening the traveling public,” said Johnson.
“I am not at all discouraging people from traveling this holiday season. I think people should continue to do that and have a happy and safe holiday but we continue to be vigilant and we continually evaluate whether more is necessary, based on the latest threat streams,” Johnson continued.
Tapper pressed, saying “but no ban on carry-on luggage yet but you’re considering everything.”
“Uh, there’s no ban on carry-on luggage at this time,” Johnson replied.
News that U.S. officials were considering a ban was reported earlier this week by NPR. Counter-terrorism officials in Europe are also reportedly in discussions on how to deal with the threats made by Al Qaida.