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U.S. and E.U. Confer on Possible Laptop Ban on Trans-Atlantic Flights

A security checkpoint at Miami International Airport this month. Officials said that earlier restrictions were put in place after intelligence showed that the Islamic State was developing a bomb that could be hidden in portable electronic devices. Credit Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press
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American and European officials met on Wednesday in Brussels to discuss aviation security after the United States Department of Homeland Security said it was considering a ban on laptop computers and tablets in the cabins of trans-Atlantic flights.

The session, between Elaine C. Duke, the deputy secretary of homeland security, and representatives of various European Union countries and the European Commission, the bloc’s executive body, was called after the Europeans asked for clarification about any new restrictions — and the terrorist threats that prompted them.

A senior Trump administration official who briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity to discuss the meeting said that certain European officials were given insight into a developing aviation security threat.

Terrorist groups, the official said, were pursuing various innovations, including putting explosives in consumer devices.

The official added that the homeland security secretary, John F. Kelly, could impose the measure in the next several days or weeks.

A senior European Union official, also speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks, confirmed that the Americans shared information about what was behind the reports about the proposed restrictions.

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