McCaul: FBI should be more involved in search for missing jetliner

The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee is calling for the FBI to get more involved in the search for the Malaysia Airlines flight that has been missing for more than two weeks.

The FBI has been reviewing computer files that were discovered during a search of the home of the pilot of Flight MH370, which has been the subject of multi-national search that is focused now on the southern Indian Ocean.

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said during an appearance on Fox News’s “Kelly File” on Tuesday evening that the FBI should be investigating more angles to help with the search.

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“I'd like to see the FBI be [a] little more involved with the Malaysian government,” McCaul said. “They've been very limited in the scope for their investigation and that's really to the flight simulator.”

The Texas lawmaker said the facts that have been confirmed about the Malaysia Airlines flight’s disappearance have led him to believe whatever transpired was done purposely.

“The transponder was turned off, and then the plane dramatically turned around back toward Malaysia, which has all the indicators of an intentional act,” he said. “Now, what's the motive behind this? We really don't know.” 

The disappearance of Flight MH370 has mystified U.S. lawmakers and aviation experts for two-and-a-half weeks.

The plane, which was carrying 239 passengers, was last detected by air traffic controllers about an hour into its flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing, China, on March 8.

Investigators initially believed the plane had crashed into the Gulf of Thailand, which was where it was located when its pilots last had radio contact with air traffic controllers.

Officials later came to believe the plane’s radar equipment was intentionally turned off and the jet flew several hours after backtracking from its intended flight path.

McCaul said he thought it was unlikely the plane was experiencing mechanical problems.

“The problem with that is, after the transponder is turned off and it reroutes the path, it flies for another seven hours,” he said. “I don't think it could withstand that kind of fire for seven hours and stay in the air. As we saw, the UPS flight out of Dubai only lasted about 30 minutes. So, I think that's a pretty consistent theory there.”

McCaul criticized the Malaysian government for its handling of the search for the missing plane.

“I  think the way the Malaysian government has handled this has really been abysmal,” he said. “They texted the victims' families rather than contact them in person.

“And if I could just backtrack … when we had these two flight patterns, one to the north, one to the south, the Malaysian government was given days after the plane was missing intelligence from [the] satellite company, that it went southbound, not northbound,” McCaul continued.

“And yet the Malaysian government chose to spend a week looking in the Gulf of Thailand up towards Kazakhstan. We knew because of the radar detection capability in China, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan that there's no way this plane went northbound and yet, we wasted a week of valuable critical precious time on the northern route trying to find this plane instead of looking to where it went, that's the Indian Ocean,” the Texas lawmaker concluded.

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