By Keith Laing - 03/21/14 01:37 PM EDT
The FBI is “laser focused” on analyzing information that was seized from a computer that belonged to one of the pilots of the jetliner that has been missing for two weeks, the top Republican on the Senate’s intelligence committee said.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) said during an interview on Thursday evening with Fox News that he has been in contact with the FBI about its efforts to gleam information about the potential whereabouts of the missing plane from a flight simulator that was found on the jet’s pilot’s computer during a search of his house last weekend.
“I actually spoke with them this afternoon,” Chambliss said. “And what I can tell you ... is that they not only have the simulator box but they also have some other assets that they are reviewing in great detail.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 was last detected by air traffic controllers on March 7, when the plane was about an hour into its scheduled flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing, China.
The discovery of the pilot’s flight stimulator raised questions after it was revealed that the plane continued flying for several hours in an opposite direction after its radar detectors were turned off.
Malaysian officials said Friday the search for the missing plane was now focused on an area in the Indian Ocean where Australian leaders said they captured satellite images of debris that could be from the jet.
Chambliss said he was sure the FBI will be able to retrieve whatever information that can be learned from the pilot’s computer.
“Nobody has the capabilities that the United States has when it comes to doing something like this,” he said. “And as I say, they're not going to sleep until they complete this process. I'm confident that they're going to be able to.”
Despite the focus on the role of the pilot in the plane’s disappearance, Chambliss said it was still too early to declare that the disappearance of the jet was related to terrorism.
“There doesn't appear to be anything that points to either an act of terrorism or hijacking of some sort,” he said. "But you just simply can't rule that out at this point. We know, for example, that somebody manually turned that transponder off. We probably won't know who did that until we are able to retrieve the black box, if we ever retrieve it.
"We know that after the transponder went off the plane flew for several hours," Chambliss continued. "Some of that was maybe not totally in a normal flight pattern but it was not the type of erratic flying that would be associated normally with somebody who was committing an act of terrorism. So there are a number of things that they're still analyzing. But there is nothing that points to terrorism or a hijacking.”