POLITICS
03/16/2014 11:03 am ET Updated Mar 17, 2014

Missing Plane Not An Accident But No Terrorist Link Yet, Says Homeland Security Chair

New evidence shows that the missing Malaysia Airlines jet did not disappear due to an accident, but there's nothing yet that points to a terrorist attack, two House Republicans said Sunday.

"There's still a lot of mystery behind this. One thing we do know: this was not an accident. It was an intentional, deliberate act to bring down this airplane. And the question is who's behind that. There were a lot of warning signs along the way," Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said on "Fox News Sunday."

According to McCaul, "all the evidence is pointing toward the cockpit." In particular, he cited the changed flight pattern and the switched-off transponders.

"Two scenarios are here [on the plane's current location]," McCaul said. "One is the plane ran out of fuel and landed in the ocean. That's a bad scenario. The other is it landed in a country like Indonesia, where it could be used later on as a cruise missile, as the 9/11 hijackers did. We have to use our imagination in these situations. We don't have all the information before us, but we have to look at all these possibilities."

But he cautioned that "the jury's still very much out" on the reason for the disappearance and that there's no evidence it's related to terrorism.

Speaking on ABC's "This Week," Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, was even more definitive about the lack of evidence thus far pointing to a terrorist attack.

"There's been no terrorist connections whatsoever. There's been no terrorist chatter, there's nothing out there indicating it's terrorist. That doesn't mean it's not, but so far nothing has been picked up by the intelligence community from Day One," King said.

The congressman said he still had questions about the two Iranian asylum seekers on the plane, although he quickly qualified that they were a "side issue."

"Just the fact that they were there and written off so quickly as having any threat. ... The fact that it was so easy to get on with stolen passports, it just creates a terrorist atmosphere," he said.

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