The FBI are stepping in to help investigate the disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines Jet by deploying agents and technical experts to assist in the investigation, based on the American citizenship of three of the passengers aboard the lost flight, a top federal law enforcement official in Washington said Saturday per the LA Times.
He said that a fourth passenger, whom he described as an infant may also be a U.S. citizen and was flying with the three Americans.
“This gives us entrée” to the case, the official said, speaking confidentially because the FBI investigation has just begun. “So far what happened is a mystery.”
U.S. officials are also investigating whether this could be an act of terrorism, as they would with any plane crash until proven otherwise. Though two passengers reportedly used stolen passengers to secure their spots on the plane, “there is no indication this is a terrorist attack; stolen passports are certainly not indicative of a terrorist act,” a senior counter terrorism official said.
The federal law enforcement official said FBI personnel will assist in reviewing the video footage of the airport in Kuala Lumpur for images of passengers at the ticket counter, the security sections, as well as the boarding area. He said images captured can be used with the bureau’s advanced counter-terrorism technology to look for matches with known members of Al Qaeda or other terrorist organizations.
The missing Malaysia Airlines jet was en route to Beijing with 239 people aboard when it suddenly disappeared from air traffic control monitoring.
Vietnamese military aircraft participating in a search-and-rescue mission for the plane spotted two oil slicks off the coast of southern Vietnam which were consistent with a plane crash, the Associated Press reported, but there has not been verification that they were associated with the missing Malaysia Airlines Jet.
The U.S. law enforcement official said that the federal National Transportation Safety Board will likely be brought into the investigation “because the jet was built by Boeing in this country.”