Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said he believes President Donald Trump "has the potential to be a great president," and even agreed with part of the president's newest travel restrictions on people from Middle Eastern and North African countries.
"I actually believe that Donald Trump -- and I told him this when I met with him in December -- I actually believe that Donald Trump has the potential to be a great president in sort of the Nixon-goes-to-China way, or Reagan-goes-to-the-Soviet-Union way, if he can find a way to rein in some of the more unhealthy impulses, listen to his staff, bring on a full complement of political appointees who will help him govern," Johnson told MSNBC, according to Politico.
Johnson, who served as Secretary of Homeland Security for former President Barack Obama, also defended Trump's emergency order that places severe restrictions on what type of electronic devices airline passengers from 13 international airports can bring in carry-on luggage when flying into the U.S.
"I haven't accessed the intelligence the last two months but folks, aviation security experts and our intelligence community must be seeing things that are significant to prompt this action," Johnson said. "I'm concerned that we are, when it comes to homeland security, fighting the last war," he said. "We may be responding to the terrorist attack of 10 years ago, as opposed to the next one ... Given where we are right now with the current threat environment, we need to focus on home-grown, home-born violent extremism."
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The Department of Homeland Security announced the restrictions on March 21.
"The U.S. Government is concerned about terrorists' ongoing interest in targeting commercial aviation, including transportation hubs over the past two years, as evidenced by the 2015 airliner downing in Egypt, the 2016 attempted airliner downing in Somalia, and the 2016 armed attacks against airports in Brussels and Istanbul. Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items," the agency said in a statement posted on its website. "Based on this trend, the Transportation Security Administration, in consultation with relevant Departments and Agencies, has determined it is prudent to enhance security, to include airport security procedures for passengers at certain last point of departure airports to the United States. These enhancements include more stringent measures applied to 10 specific airports."
According to Fox News, only cell phones and medical devices will be allowed on affected flights. Items such as laptops, tablets, and DVD players must be transported in checked luggage.
According to Politico, the affected airlines include: Royal Jordanian, EgyptAir, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad.