The U.S. government has sent an advisory to airlines that fly into Russia, warning them that recent intelligence suggests terrorists might try to smuggle explosives onto planes by using toothpaste tubes.
An official said the intelligence does not indicate any threat to planes flying either to or within the United States, but was instead limited to flights to Russia. A U.S. official added that the advisory is directed to airline flights that originate outside the United States.
"Out of an abundance of caution, [Department of Homeland Security] regularly shares relevant information with domestic and international partners, including those associated with international events such as the Sochi Olympics.
"While we are not aware of a specific threat to the homeland at this time, this routine communication is an important part of our commitment to making sure we meet that priority," said a statement from a Homeland Security official.
Asked whether the advisory might lead to any change in carry-on restrictions, the official declined to comment.
As an added precaution, the advisory has also been passed along to carriers that operate charger flights to Russia for the Olympics, the official said.
The intelligence on which the advisory is based, the official said, "is very new."
The officials did not reveal either the source of the intelligence or the timeframe involved.
First published February 5 2014, 1:15 PM
Pete Williams is an NBC News correspondent based in Washington, D.C. He has been covering the Justice Department and the U.S. Supreme Court since March 1993. Williams was also a key reporter on the Microsoft anti-trust trial and Judge Jackson's decision.
Prior to joining NBC, Williams served as a press official on Capitol Hill for many years. In 1986 he joined the Washington, D.C. staff of then Congressman Dick Cheney as press secretary and a legislative assistant. In 1989, when Cheney was named Assistant Secretary of Defense, Williams was appointed Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs. While in that position, Williams was named Government Communicator of the Year in 1991 by the National Association of Government Communicators.
A native of Casper, Wyo. and a 1974 graduate of Stanford University, Williams was a reporter and news director at KTWO-TV and Radio in Casper from 1974 to 1985. Working with the Radio-Television News Directors Association, for which he served as a member of its board of directors, he successfully lobbied the Wyoming Supreme Court to permit broadcast coverage of its proceedings and twice sued Wyoming judges over pre-trial exclusion of reporters from the courtroom. For these efforts, he received a First Amendment Award from the Society of Professional Journalists.