Homeland Security Chair: Missing Plane May be in Hands of Terrorists

March 17, 2014 - 9:53 PM

Malaysia Plane

In this photo provided by the U.S. Navy, crew members on board an aircraft P-8A Poseidon assist in the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in the Indian Ocean on Sunday, March 16, 2014. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy, Eric A. Pastor)

(CNSNews.com) – As the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 continues over a huge swathe of Asia, the possibility should not be ruled out that the plane may be in terrorists’ hands, being prepared in a remote location for use in a major attack, House Homeland Security Committee chairman Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.) said Monday.

Appearing on CNN, McCaul said one possibility is that after the Boeing 777 was diverted from its original flight path – for whatever reason – “it ran out of fuel and it landed in the Indian Ocean, where they’re searching today.”

“The other possible theory, but more unlikely, is that it landed somewhere, to hook up with potential terrorists, to use it as a weapon, as a cruise missile, in a future terrorist attack,” he said.

McCaul made similar remarks on Fox News.

“Two scenarios are possible. One, it ran out of fuel and crashed in the Indian Ocean,” he said. “The other one, the plane landed somewhere in the – in Southeast Asia, possibly Indonesia, that it could be used later as a weapon.”

“From a terror standpoint, either somebody on that plane, or the pilots, attempted to hijack it, but then what would be the purpose behind crashing it into the ocean?” he asked.

“So the other possible theory we’re looking at is it could have landed somewhere, [to be] filled with explosives, and then sent somewhere else to cause some great damage. And I think we have to look at all possibilities right now.”

CIA Director John Brennan said last Tuesday he would not rule out the possibility of terrorism being a factor in the aircraft’s disappearance.

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), a member of the House Intelligence and Homeland Security committees, said Sunday that no evidence had yet emerged to indicate a terrorist connection.

With 239 people onboard, flight 370 disappeared on March 8 while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. No sightings of the plane or wreckage have been reported since. Some 20 countries are involved in the search and investigation.

Based on satellite data investigators believe that the aircraft, once diverted off its course, may have taken either a flight path along a south-western or a north-western corridor, heading either in the direction of Central Asia or down towards the remote southern Indian Ocean.

The southern option is considered the more likely, since the northern route would have brought the aircraft within range of numerous military and civilian radar installations, yet no country had reported signs of the plane.

Australia has taken the lead in the southern  Indian Ocean leg of the search, and its surveillance aircraft will be joined by planes from the U.S. and New Zealand in the coming days.