The United States Department of Homeland Security on Thursday announced a temporary ban on all toothpaste on commercial airliners traveling to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia after intelligence sources said terrorists may be plotting attacks on U.S. airliners using explosives hidden in toothpaste tubes.
The Transportation Security Administration ban comes one day after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a warning to all U.S. airlines traveling to Russia that terrorists may be plotting to attack commercial airliners with toothpaste tubes containing ingredients that could be used to construct a bomb aboard a plane.
"As always our security posture, which at all times includes a number of measures both seen and unseen, will continue to respond and appropriately adapt to protect the American people from an ever evolving threat picture," a DHS official said. "These measures include intelligence gathering and analysis, deployment of cutting edge technology, random canine team searches at airports, federal air marshals, federal flight deck officers, temporarily restricting certain items and more security measures both visible and invisible to the public."
Thursday's Department of Homeland Security advisory regarding flights between the United States and the Russian Federation posted on Delta Airlines website states:
"The U.S. Transportation Security Administration has directed that no liquids, gels, aerosols and powders of any size be permitted onboard flights between the United States and the Russian Federation in any passenger cabin of service. These items may be placed in customers' checked baggage. Prescription medications will be allowed.
Additionally, customers traveling between the U.S. and the Russian Federation will need to personally check in with a Delta representative at the airport. Online, mobile and kiosk check-in will be unavailable. Delta encourages customers traveling to and from Russia to arrive at the airport at least two hours in advance of departure time."
Delta Airlines policy before Thursday's temporary ban allowed liquid personal-care items stored in a makeup bag including mouthwash, toothpaste, perfume, cologne and hair care products if in a 3.4 oz. or smaller container without exceeding a total of 32 oz. Larger items, routinely must be placed in checked baggage.
Russian aviation officials have already banned liquids in carry-on bags on domestic flights. However, several journalists traveling to the Sochi Games have reported no problem getting toothpaste tubes through airport security in Sochi, Russia.
International security experts have voiced concerns over the location of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia which borders a "war zone."
Russian authorities insist they have taken every precautionary security measure to secure the safety of all athletes and spectators.
Worldwide, public safety at such large sporting events is impossible to guarantee in the best of situations.
The 2014 Winter Olympics site is located in an area on heightened security alert because of credible threats to attack the Sochi Games. Islamist extremist groups have previously detonated hidden bombs at sporting arenas including one under a stadium grandstand in Grozny in 2004.
U.S. officials say they are monitoring several potential threats in Russia. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials insist there is no specific threat to the homeland.