By Mario Trujillo - 03/25/14 08:07 AM EDT
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said the Malaysian government is trying to divert criticism away from itself by announcing the missing Malaysia Airlines plane crashed in the southern Indian Ocean.
King, who has been critical of the Malaysian government's search effort since the plane went missing earlier this month, said Monday it is hard to justify the announcement without definitive proof.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Monday that Flight MH370 "ended in the southern Indian ocean" without any survivors. The determination was based on a new analysis and was shared out of respect for the families of the 239 passengers, he said during a news conference.
“I think he was doing that just trying to get attention away from him and away from the fact that Malaysia has done such a terrible job,” King said.
On Monday, the United States said it would have to get its own confirmation on the plane's disappearance.
"We'll have to get our own independent confirmation on that," White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said. "We obviously noted the Malaysian prime minister’s statement. They are very much in the lead for this investigation. We're sharing information. But I don't want to indicate that we have independent confirmation of the fate of the passengers on that plane. What we are focused on is the same southern corridor space where we've dedicated our resources in trying to recover the plane. And so that's where our current focus is."
He said the FBI as well as the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are continuing to work with the Malaysian government.