The idea is that terrorists would try to sneak in their terrorism gear under the guise of smartphones, laptops, tablets, or maybe an old GameBoy. Hoping that terrorists wouldn’t think, or be able, to craft an electronic device that could both blow stuff up and perform the basic, non-terror functions of the device, the TSA is hoping that the threat of an agent — not even a TSA agent — occasionally saying “Would you mind powering that up for me?” is enough to prevent attacks.
“Powerless devices will not be permitted onboard the aircraft,” said the TSA in a statement. “The traveler may also undergo additional screening.”
The TSA doesn’t have screeners at airports in other countries, but it can tell countries that want to operate flights into the U.S. what screening criteria to use.
And because the TSA loves to keep travelers on their toes, it’s not divulging which of the more than 250 foreign airports with direct flights to the U.S. are involved in this security tweak.