The Reid Report   |  March 10, 2014

Searchers find no sign of missing plane

Clive Irving and Evy Poumpouras join Joy Reid to talk about the international community’s efforts to locate the missing Malaysia Airlines flight and whether it was a terror target.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we start with a question. how can a boeing 777 and its 239 passengers and crew just disappear an hour after takeoff? malaysian investigators today call the weekend disappearance of flight 370, quote, an unprecedented mystery. dozens of ships from ten countries are taking part in the search that now includes a second destroyer from the u.s. seventh fleet , the " uss kidd ." three days into the disappearance investigators say they are expanding their search radius since they are no closer to discovering what happened to the men and women on board. flight 370 disappeared one to two hours after cleving kuala lumpur to malaysia . no distress call was went. weather was clear. no sign of wreckage as earlier discoveries of an oil slick and other debris are not from flight 370. no cause for the disappearance is being given at this time. with boeing 777 's generally having an excellent safety record. and while officials search for a cause, focus is centered on two passengers traveling on passports stolen from two men, twr fr austria and italy. they heard no chatter among terror groups claiming credit for the missing jet. a former special agent with the u.s. secret service and security and threat assessment exfor the. let me ask you first about just the oddness of not discovering anything, any wreckage from the plane, whether you look at it in terms of a terror analyst does it speak to us or a mystery that makes utterly no sense to you as well?

>> look, it can be both sides of the house. can it be terrorism? yes. is it ironic that we have two individuals with stolen passports on the plane and coincidentally this plane goes down and disappears. yes, they're following those leads chrksz they should. now, could it be possibly something random, mechanical, that as well. but like you mentioned, nobody is take anything claim for this. unnew orleans one is saying, hey, we are responsible for this. maybe this isn't terrorism. but on the other hand, what if that wasn't the plot. what if the plane was meant to do something else and it failed midair, what if they have another plan that's going forward and if they're smart they're going to lay quiet and plan whatever other attacks they have going forward.

>> now, both of these passports stolen, they were lost by their owners in bangkok, in thailand. has that country been on the radar at all as a place where you're seeing identity theft tied in any way to terrorism?

>> yes, of course, especially that area over in asia. we do have lot of ties, malaysia malaysia , bangkok, those areas. could those passports have been stolen rather than lost? that is most likely the case. they just don't randomly lose them and somehow end up in the hands of criminals. probably they were taken from them and now being used in this situation. but let's keep in mind though, a lot of criminals do travel via commercial, moving forward from one country to another, below the radar with these types of passports. again, it's the coincidence, how likely is it that this happened and they happen to be on this particular plane.

>> right. and also the tickets were bought consecutively, the numbers are consecutive. there are a lot of strange things.

>> bought together, that's correct. another red flag .

>> clive irving is the senior consulting editor and a contributor to "the daily beast ." clive , talk a little bit about this plane, the boeing 777 . obviously a plane with an excellent safety record. one that does not have a history of mechanical issues. you know, in your assessment, is this a plane that could theoretically have just simply broken up in the air for something other than intentional causes?

>> no, it's a plane with a stellar safety record. it's been in operation for many years. it's evolved. and it's got a very promising future. so i think it's extremely -- of all the options available -- of course, there's a swamp of speculation here in this story which makes it very confusing for any lay person to really dig their way through it and find out and decide what they can believe and what they can't believe. but i would remove from this equation at the moment with quite a lot of confidence, any failure of the plane itself.

>> clive , you've written about the 777, whether it disintegrated in the air of explosion or hit the water in one piece is highly significant. can you explain that?

>> that makes a big difference in the problems faced by the search of the ocean because the precursor to this is air france 447 which disappeared over the south atlantic in 2009 and in that case the plane was whole when it hit the water. it broke up on on impact with the water. if this 777 broke up at 36,000 feet where it was cruising, at cruise height, broke up into many pieces, the debris would take different courses down before it hit the water. the heaviest parts of the plane, for example, the engines, would fall very rapidly like bombs and go straight down into the water. whereas the lightest parts, parts of the airframe would flutter and be carried off by hi altitude winds all over place. and the same would be true as they flutter down and would be caught in currents in the water. so that's the worst possible scenario. if this plane, in fact -- could it disappear instantaneously? the suspicion of all the experts i've talked to is it must have been without warning, it must have been a total catastrophic failure in one second. so if that happened, and the plane disintegrated at that altitude, it makes the search much, much harder.

>> and, evy, the other issue is it appears perhaps the plane turned without any parts of the plane, without any actual evidence. you just heard clive talking about whether or not it disintegrated or broke in pieces he's still talking about parts of plane to be found and used in investigation. in terms of investigation of possible technology, how can that be done without any remnant remnants of the plane?

>> it's difficult. their key thing is if they can't get their hands on their plane, it's a big negative for law enforcement and the authorities, they're going to follow those two leads. they're going to check those two leads, those individuals with stolen passports. you're going to check the surveillance tapes. mark everybody gone on to that plane. id them. get all the tickets. lift prints off the tickets. can you get prints on these people. which maybe law enforcement probably have done these things, they're just not sharing it with us. and they're going to follow the trails. family members, friends, loved ones. they're going to do all of that to see if these two people have anything to do at all to do with it. if these people have absolutely nothing to do with it, then it leads them to believe perhaps this isn't terror related, maybe it is mechanical, maybe something happened with the actual plane. but i think that's where they're going to take that angle. once you can take that out of the equation, you can focus on, all right, no foul play here. maybe it is the plane itself. it's difficult. i mean, this thing broke up over the atlantic -- the ocean. if it's broken into pieces, they want to get them. they want to try to also put it together to see is it faulty, is it equipment. it's a very daunting task they have to do.

>> clive , lastly, knowing that the debris field or whatever, we just don't know where the plane is and not knowing its exact precise location when whatever occurred occurred, how difficult is it going to be for investigators to get to any conclusion in this case?

>> well, the physical evidence of the plane tells a story. that's why it's so essential to get the pieces of the plane. for example, as soon as they pick up pieces of the plane they can see if there's been a fire because, whether there would be an explosion, an explosion would puncture many parts of the plane and you would see pitting in the t aluminum and wreckage. so there are clues. but i mean, it will take a long while. this is a tremendous forensic challenge. any plane that goes down into the ocean like this presents two challenges. the first challenge is to find it and the second challenge is to understand what happened to it. it's important in this case, i think, to find out what didn't happen as it is to find out what did happen.

>> and lastly, evy, it is for the families, this has to be excruciating. you don't have the finality of knowing that something happened to this plane, we don't know what. for the family members, what can they even look to from investigators? where do we even begin to investigate a case where we don't know where the plane physically is?

>> it's unfortunate because this is one of those situation where's you don't have the answers. you can't -- all you can do is tell them we're trying, looking for answers. but i think a lot of times as the public watch these tv show , movies. in the tv, within 48 hour, it's solve. but in real life unfortunately it's a lot more daunting and difficult, given the situation as clive was pointing out, with finding the parts of the plane. comfort them, share information that they can, give them the resources they need to cope. but i think unfortunately we're going to see this is going to go on for a while and we're going to have a lot of unsolved answers for a period of time.

>> tremendous mystery. thank you both.

>> thank you.