(CNN) – The threat from ISIS is now considered so great that the U.K. has raised its threat level to severe. With the announcement, the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security revealed the U.S. considers the threat serious as well, taking a number of steps to “enhance” aviation security overseas.
“The scale of this threat is growing.”
As Britain raises its terror threat level to “severe” the U.S. says it’s working to “track foreign fighters who travel in and out of Syria,” and the U.S. continuing “enhanced aviation security measures at overseas airports with direct flights to the U.S.”
“We now have to make sure our mobile phones and laptops — they can see that it’s charged.”
Since this summer, flyers from Middle East and European airports bound for the United States have had to power up all electronic devices to prove they weren’t explosives. Intelligence had suggested terrorists were developing more sophisticated bombs to avoid airport screening.
In the U.K. today, a clear sign that they are worried about foreign fighters returning.
“We are stopping suspects by traveling by seizing passports, we’re barring foreign nationals from reentering the U.K., we are depriving people of citizenship.”
The U.S. is striking a similar tone, after two Americans were killed fighting for ISIS in Syria this week.
“We have the prerogative at the State Department in coordination with law enforcement authorities to revoke passports when it comes to a point where somebody is working with a terrorist organization or posing a threat to the American public.”
The government’s “no fly” list and law enforcement watch lists are updated and sent to TSA in real time as threats develop. But it’s not a perfect system.
“When I went back to Florida…”
Moner Mohammad Abusalha grew up in Florida. He flew to Syria and trained as a jihadist then returned to the U.S. He was able to fly again overseas, not to be seen again until he blew himself up in a suicide attack in Syria.
“If we know something about someone they are going to be questioned. The real concern is the sleeper cell; someone who has kept under the radar.”
The 14 million Americans taking to the sky this weekend may see heightened security already in place because of the busy Labor Day travel. But more security is being considered and not all of it will be visible.
“I don’t anticipate at this point that there’s a plan to change that level.”