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by
Bridget Johnson

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March 10, 2014 - 3:53 pm
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White House press secretary Jay Carney spoke guardedly about the reason for the disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines jet today as suspicions swirled about the stolen passports used to purchase a pair of one-way tickets on the doomed flight.

Italian Luigi Maraldi lost his passport in Phuket, Thailand, in 2013, while Austrian Christian Kozel lost his in the same resort city in 2012. Both men were listed as among the 239 on board the flight but are very much alive.

The Financial Times reported that a man believed to be Iranian and identifying himself as Ali booked the two tickets at the last minute through a Thai travel agent, who was paid in cash by an associate of Ali.

The ticket holders were supposed to transfer in Beijing with Amsterdam as the ultimate destination.

“Obviously, the Malaysians have the lead in this investigation, but we do not have enough information at this time to comment on the cause,” Carney said at today’s press briefing.

Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration are en route to the region to help out, he said.

Despite a massive air and sea search in the Gulf of Thailand, authorities have not been able to locate any wreckage from the plane, which sent no distress signal before it disappeared off radar.

Three American citizens were on board, including 50-year-old Philip Wood, who was working for IBM in Malaysia, and children Nicole Meng and Leo Meng.

The Defense Department said the 7th Fleet sent the USS Pinckney, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, to the scene with MH-60R helicopters equipped for search efforts. A PC-3 Orion aircraft from Okinawa has also arrived in the region to contribute long-range search radar and communications capability.

“The United States government is in communication with agencies and with — across agencies, rather, and with international partners to provide any appropriate assistance in the investigation,” Carney said.

At the State Department today, spokeswoman Jen Psaki was asked whether the administration’s concern has been piqued about “any potential Iranian hand in what went on here.”

“The reports that there were two stolen passports raised concerns and questions. But I don’t have any other confirmation of what you just said from our end or any other details into the investigation. Obviously, it’s being looked into,” Psaki said.

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), who sits on the Homeland Security and Intelligence committees, told CNN this afternoon that there are “all of these red flags” surrounding the disappearance of Flight MH370.

“The fact is that the plane went down without any communication whatsoever, the fact that you had the two passengers flying with stolen passports, now this report, which I don’t believe is confirmed yet by the United States, but assume that it’s true, about an Iranian purchasing the tickets,” King said. “And then an add added factor that Malaysia has had al-Qaeda activity in the past, both prior to 9/11 and prior to the USS Cole, the fact that you have Uighurs, which is a Chinese Islamic group, in that area, you add all that together, and the mystery of it, certainly, every possible terrorist lead or every possible terrorist scenario has to be drilled down and has to be looked at exhaustively.”

A group called Chinese Martyrs’ Brigade reportedly emailed a statement to Chinese journalists Monday claiming responsibility for the doomed flight, saying: “You kill one of our clan, we will kill 100 of you as pay back.” Malaysian authorities doubted the claim’s credibility.

King stressed that from what he’s learned from the intelligence community, “from going over the manifests and the passengers and comparing it to our databases, so far, there’s no indication that these people were terrorists. There’s no indication of terrorist chatter in the days leading up to it.”

“So, no, they’re just — nothing is being ruled in, nothing is being ruled out, and everything is being looked at exhaustively,” the congressman added.

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All Comments   (15)
All Comments   (15)
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No matter what happened here, the Iranian government presents a clear and present danger to every single Western nation, not only Israel. They will strike wherever and whenever they can, depending to some extent on their perception of the threat to the regime, represented in part (or mostly) in their eyes by the potential for an attack on their nuclear weapons development program. The West can only remove the threat (to Iran) by silently announcing ceding of international security to the regime. In my opinion that's where things stand.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Fox is reporting that Interpol has declared there was no terrorism involved. Huh. How do they know?
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
The two Euros who had their passports jacked were likely sex tourists abusing Thai children. The compounded the felony by possibly aiding and abetting terrorists.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Really, you ought to retract that statement.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
I have the strong suspicion that the plane landed somewhere. Nothing has surfaced yet, not one piece of the airplane or cargo. I am sure intelligence satellites are monitoring that particular part of the sea and surrounding areas. They will have to come up with something soon.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wouldn't radar somewhere have detected it? A 777 is not an easy thing to hide from eyes in the sky.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
If the hijackers have the technical skills to turn the transponders off and then fly low to whatever their destination was ... they may have gone mostly undetected but some radar, some satellite, some wireless telephone tower may have ping the airplane. The problem now is to sift through the telecom data once the passengers' phone accounts are known. Land is never too far in that region, there are plenty of small islands. The plane will be found sooner or later either on land or at sea, whether it crashed or not.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
MALAYSIAN POLICE say one of two men traveling with stolen passports on missing Malaysian jet is an Iranian seeking asylum in Germany, left, as officials expand search for Boeing 777 and China deploys satellites to aid hunt. Fox
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
"King stressed that from what he’s learned from the intelligence community, “from going over the manifests and the passengers and comparing it to our databases, so far, there’s no indication that these people were terrorists. There’s no indication of terrorist chatter in the days leading up to it.”

Knock, knock, hello Mr. King, is anybody home? The "intelligence community", at least as a general rule, doesn't know their arse from a hole in the ground, and I don't think you do either.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
The flight crew must have acted stupidly by showing an inflight video insulting the Prophet of Islam so now the future does not belong to them. - Barack Insane-Hussein Obama
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
"A group called Chinese Martyrs’ Brigade reportedly emailed a statement to Chinese journalists Monday claiming responsibility for the doomed flight, saying: “You kill one of our clan, we will kill 100 of you as pay back.” Malaysian authorities doubted the claim’s credibility."

The far more important opinion is that of the Chinese. Do they dismiss this claim coming from a Muslim group so out of hand?
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
All I can say is that our ever alert to the slightest international nuance, and highly professional and dedicated and patriotic, TSA Gropstapo, had better start fondling more young girls and molesting more grandmothers at our American airports, and I expect they will.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
I find it hard to believe that two passengers with stolen passports went undiscovered during boarding security checks. Interpol keeps a tight list of missing/stolen passports - WTH is wrong with Malaysia's airport security? Maybe they should be looking at some of their security personnel. Malaysia isn't the cheapest place in the world to live. Instant cash will turn heads.

29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
My latest theory: the plane was Raptured. Great for those passengers and crew, but guess what it means for the rest of us. And guess what it means for where we are.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
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