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More terrorists gaining the knowledge to build laptop bomb

CBS News logo CBS News 4 days ago Jeff Pegues
A Delta Connection Embraer ERJ-170 airplane takes off from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Va., on Aug. 15, 2016.: delta.jpg © Getty delta.jpg

CBS News has learned that U.S. officials are increasingly concerned about the possibility of terrorists targeting commercial airliners.

An official with knowledge of the threat says it is evolving rapidly, and more terrorists are gaining the knowledge necessary to build a laptop bomb.

Watch: Terror groups developing laptop bombs that can evade security, feds say

In March, CBS News confirmed that terrorist groups have been perfecting and testing a bomb that can be hidden in a laptop computer and can evade security scanners. Since March, those concerns have not diminished.  In fact, it's just the opposite. With the pace of terrorist attacks picking up pace in Europe, U.S. law enforcement officials grow increasingly worried about the capabilities of terrorist organizations to carry out attacks on what al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) see as one of their top targets -- commercial aviation.

CBS News has learned that DHS efforts to reach out to airlines and airports globally about a possible laptop ban may be leading to enhanced security.

DHS officials meet with Europeans over laptop ban

A source with knowledge of the negotiations with stakeholders says the possibility of a laptop ban is already prompting new airport security measures in some places, while others are now considering changes.

Publicly, U.S. officials insist the possibility of a laptop ban is very real. DHS Secretary John Kelly is still said to be leaning in that direction, while pressing for other upgrades to security.

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 A lot hinges on the evolving threat. The Trump administration is watching developments in Europe closely, knowing that as ISIS is "squeezed" in Syria and in other and in other places, it is at the same time sending trained individuals to countries where travel to the U.S. is easier.


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