MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Department of Homeland Security has issued an advisory to airlines to be aware of new intelligence chatter about explosives in shoes.
Officials said no direct threat has been made, putting out the warning is part of DHS’s “mission of keeping the traveling public safe.”
At Miami International Airport Wednesday night, some passengers said they wouldn’t mind increased security measures if the threat called for it.
“I prefer to take off my shoes than have go in a plane that has a bomb in somebody’s shoes,” Renata Salles said as she waited for her flight to Brazil. “I don’t complain about security systems because I think they are trying to help us.”
“It doesn’t bother me to take my shoes off. If I have to, I’ll be ok,” passenger Julio Doddis said.
A DHS official says relevant threat information is regularly shared “out of an abundance of caution.”
In a statement, the official said, “Our security apparatus includes a number of measures, both seen and unseen, informed by the latest intelligence and as always DHS continues to adjust security measures to fit an ever evolving threat environment.”
Former White House Homeland Security Advisor Fran Townsend told CNN’s Anderson Cooper the warning to airlines likely comes from intelligence that shows terrorists have been working to develop new methods to smuggle explosives past screeners.
“We’re concerned that they may have been able to develop to make a smaller compact version of an explosive,” Townsdend said on AC360.
Screening for shoe bombs has been the norm since 2001, when Richard Reid tried to set off explosives stashed in his shoe on a flight bound for Miami from Paris.
The latest intel sparked a warning to airlines worldwide for flights entering the United States.
International travelers say they understand the concern.
“You have your history to explain this. It’s ok. You have to take care of your country,” Maria Elisa Ramirez said.
A few weeks ago, a similar warning was issued regarding liquids and toothpaste tubes, but that was specifically directed at flights heading to Russia for the Olympics.
This new alert is not believed to be connected to the Winter Games.
The warning may prompt longer wait times at TSA checkpoints, so be sure to arrive at the airport with plenty of time to clear security.