By Keith Laing - 03/13/14 03:05 PM EDT
The chairman of the House committee that oversees intelligence issues said Thursday that there has been "total confusion" in the search for a missing airplane in Malaysia.
Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) said Malaysian officials have offered contradictory information about the possible whereabouts of the plane, which was last seen by air traffic controllers about an hour into its flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing last Friday.
"Ever since this started on Saturday, it's been intense, it's been 24/7, and I would say even more so now with these different leads, these contradictory leads, the total confusion almost that's coming from Malaysia and to some extent from China," King said during an interview with CNN.
But he told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that terrorism can not be completely ruled out.
"Certainly what you mentioned is — has to be a possibility, as would be pilot suicide, as would be another form of terrorist attack," he said. "I mean all of these are now possible because of the fact that it's so unusual and there's been such contradictory evidence coming out."
King said cooperation between the Malaysian government and U.S. officials from agencies like the National Transportation Safety Board has been "good."
The New York lawmaker was sharply critical of the Malaysian and Chinese governments' handling of updates about the missing plane, however.
"I would say, first of all, that they are so late in giving out information," he said. "For instance ... if the Malaysian Air Force thought back on Saturday that the plane possibly had detoured or turned around, why did they wait until just the other day to tell us that?
"Also with China, why did they wait so long to make those images available, whether or not they're turning out to be valid," King continued. "The fact is, all that information should be provided immediately and certainly with Malaysia and then going right back to the beginning where they allowed people on the plane with stolen passports, never did any type of check at all with Interpol. It's just been confusion, confusion. And the last thing you can afford at a time like this is confusion. Of course the situation itself is confusing enough without adding to it."