Security to be tightened overseas for U.S.-bound flights

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The Obama administration is stepping up security for some flights headed to the United States, reflecting heightened concern that terrorists are developing more sophisticated explosives designed to avoid airport screening.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement that he has directed the Transportation Security Administration to “implement enhanced security measures in the coming days” at selected overseas airports.

“We will work to ensure these necessary steps pose as few disruptions to travelers as possible,” Johnson said in a statement. “We are sharing recent and relevant information with our foreign allies and are consulting the aviation industry.”

Specific steps or airports were not disclosed. But sources told CNN earlier that security officials were not considering new restrictions on what passengers can bring aboard flights.

Officials also said previously that there was no specific plot and the matter was not related to violence and other developments in Iraq and Syria or the July 4 holiday weekend.

One official said previously there would be increased screening for U.S.-bound flights that take off from Europe and the Middle East, while another said the measures would be related to airports worldwide that don’t meet American security standards.

Since hardening cockpit doors and taking other measures after the 9/11 al Qaeda attacks, the U.S. aviation security focus has shifted primarily from hijackings to plastic and other explosives that can be carried aboard a plane or hidden in baggage.

The United States has particularly been focused on efforts by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to develop undetectable explosives since the unsuccessful attempt by the so-called “underwear bomber” to bring down a Delta Air Lines jet over Detroit in 2009.

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