CIA Chief John Brennan said on Tuesday that terrorism cannot be ruled out in the “very disturbing” disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. Investigators and aviation experts remain baffled on day four of the search for the missing Boeing 777 jet carrying 239 passengers and crew.
“I think there’s a lot of speculation right now,” John Brennan told the Council on Foreign Relations. “[There have been] some claims of responsibility that have not been confirmed or corroborated at all. We are looking at it very carefully. We, the CIA, are working with FBI and TSA and others. Our Malaysian counterparts are doing everything they can to try to put together the pieces here. But clearly this is still a mystery, which is very disturbing.”
A Malaysian Air Force official told Reuters on Tuesday that missing Flight 370 was last traced over a small island in the Strait of Malacca,"way of course." The aircraft turned around and flew hundreds of kilometers to the west after it made contact with civilian air traffic control. The aircraft's transponder stopped working, whether it was intentionally shut off or malfunctioned remains unclear.
During a news conference earlier on Tuesday, Interpol Secretary General, Ronald Noble said the two Iranian men that boarded the flight using stolen passports have been identified as Pouri Nour Mohammadi, 18, and Delavar Seyed Mohammad Reza, 29.
The unprecedented search mission on both land and sea has grown to include nine aircraft and 24 ships from nine countries, including the United States in the Gulf of Thailand on the eastern side of Malaysia.
Malaysian officials have downplayed the possibility that terrorists are behind the missing aircraft. Several aviation experts say they believe the Boeing 777 malfunctioned, likely causing a "catastrophic event."
Anguished family members of the 239 passengers and crew members on board Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 continue to hold out hope, although several have said they do not believe the government's accounts.
Homeland Security experts point out that commercial airliners are a preferred weapon of al-Qaeda.
U.S. Rep. Peter King, Chairman of the Counterterrorism and Intelligence subcommittee and former Chair of the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee told NBC on Sunday that Malaysia has been a hub of hijack activity. Prior to the attack on the U.S.S. Cole, there was a meeting in Malaysia and that many of the 9/11 hijackers went through Malaysia.
In light of the latest information regarding the plane's turnaround, former FAA Safety Inspector David Soucie told CNN's Don Lemon on Tuesday afternoon that chances of an electrical failure or other mechanical malfunctions -- all which have backups is unlikely, and more likely caused by "human hands."