Monday 29 December 2014

Malaysia rejects US criticism that it is not sharing information about missing plane

Published 18/03/2014 | 06:20

Relatives of Chinese passengers aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 (AP)
Relatives of Chinese passengers aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 (AP)
A woman stands in front of a board with messages of support for the missing plane at an event to show solidarity in Subang Jaya, Malaysia, yesterday.
Residents of Boeung Kak Lake prepare lotus flowers before a Buddhist ceremony, praying for the release of 21 detainees who have been jailed since January 3, when military police opened fire on workers striking over low pay, killing four people, in Phnom Penh. The ceremony also including special prayers for the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370. Reuters
A screen on board Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER flight MH318 shows the plane's flight path as it cruises over the South China Sea from Kuala Lumpur towards Beijing, at approximately the same point when on March 8 flight MH370 lost contact with air traffic controllers, at approximately 1.30am March 17, 2014. Malaysia Airlines flight number MH318 replaces the flight number of the missing airplane, MH370, that was retired as a mark of respect to the passengers and crew while the flight route remains unchanged. Reuters photographer Edgar Su boarded the flight in Kuala Lumpur on March 17 and documented the journey to Beijing. This is picture number 16 of 23 in this series. REUTERS/Edgar Su (TRANSPORT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER flight MH318 to Beijing sits on the tarmac as passengers are reflected on the glass at the boarding gate at Kuala Lumpur International Airport at approximately 12:20am March 17, 2014. Malaysia Airlines flight number MH318 replaces the flight number of the missing airplane, MH370, that was retired as a mark of respect to the passengers and crew while the flight route remains unchanged. Reuters
Selamat Omar shows a picture of his son, flight engineer Mohd Khairul Amri Selamat who was onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, in Putrajaya, Malaysia
Residents of Boeung Kak Lake light candles to spell "MH370" during a Buddhist ceremony, praying for the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Malaysia rejected criticism on Tuesday from US government officials that it has not been sharing as much information as it could with foreign governments about the disappearance of passenger jet more than a week ago.

Two US security officials said on Monday that the Malaysia had still not invited the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to send a team to Kuala Lumpur to assist in the probe into the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370.

"I have been working with them," Malaysia's Defence and Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told Reuters on Tuesday, when asked if the country had requested FBI help.

"It's up for the FBI to tell us if they need more experts to help because it's not for us to know what they have."

While Malaysia's police special branch has been providing some information to U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies, US sources said, the FBI is only collaborating with Malaysian authorities via an agent, known as a "legal attache", assigned to the American Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

The FBI and other US law enforcement agencies, such as elements of the Department of Homeland Security, indicated some time ago they were eager to send teams to Kuala Lumpur, but will not do so unless formally invited.

Asked if any FBI staff had travelled from outside Malaysia, Hishammuddin said: "Once I have spoken to one FBI representative, I assume the whole FBI would be behind it."

An unprecedented search for the missing flight now stretches across Asia, from the Caspian Sea to the southern Indian Ocean.

Investigators are convinced that someone with deep knowledge of the Boeing 777-200ER and commercial navigation diverted the jet, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew, perhaps thousands of miles off course.

The FBI has extensive experience in investigating plane crashes, including the crashes off the U.S. east coast of TWA 800 and Egyptair 990.

In the case of Egyptair 990, the FBI helped air safety investigators establish that the crash was caused by a suicidal co-pilot.

In the TWA 800 case, the FBI conducted a lengthy investigation that eventually helped the National Transportation Safety Board discredit theories that the plane was hit by a missile, but instead was brought down by a freak accident involving overheated fuel.

Reuters

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