On the one hand, maybe there is hope that the passengers are still alive. On the other, with all of the NSA spying, if someone pulled off stealing a plane and landing it for later nefarious purposes, what does that say about the effectiveness of these efforts?
That we just need more data from everyone's phones!
Of course. That goes without saying.
Another thing, how would these people ever hope to hit targets in areas where there isn't a lapse in radar coverage? If the intent, (if any of this is true and the plane isn't in the ocean), is to hit western targets, it would be followed and blown out of the sky, wouldn't it? If there was a hostage situation, we would have heard something by now.
Either the NSA is a 100% useless, illegal boondoggle, or the plane was hijacked by the most savvy hijackers of all time.
Or it simply crashed in the ocean, intentionally or via catastrophic failure/explosion. Occam, Hanlon, and all that.
Well, my prior assumptions are along the lines of the theory so far, but here's the kicker:
I think they're going to repaint the plane, and use it later.
Call me crazy...
Well, that's what I would do.
Yeah. I'm wondering now if these new leaks are scare propaganda brought to you by the spy agency, who have more constitutional-breaking plans in the pipeline. "Start with fear" should be their motto.
The issue is also squealingly excited local administrators handing out information, be it true or false, and obfuscating the picture.
Of course, a hijacking would potentially fly over the peninsula - but I'd have thought it wise to send a couple of F18s (they have them) up to have a wee looksy. Y'know - invasion of air space and all. But no info on that. Really only 300kms over the Malaysian landmass, what, 30 minutes flight time? Who'd care, right?!
In general, I'm thinking either (1) this is a monumentally cocked up search effort, or (2) there is some kind of live situation with the stakeholders engaged and the rest is smokescreen.
I fly in and out of KLIA, so have a vested interest in hijackings, false passports etc not happening in the region.
For the Aviation buffs and curious, here is a link to a map of the high level routes and the VAMPI waypoint referenced in the Reuter's article:
If the NSA proves to be of zero use in the search for this plane, then perhaps we should consider the possibility that many of the slides we've seen contain a wish-list of capabilities, rather than existing tools at their disposal.
I have to disagree. The more they collect, the harder it is to find what they are looking for in any timely fashion. The NSA is basically looking for needles in a haystack, and their first order of business was to make the haystack larger.
Could turn out to be something like Ethiopian Airlines Flight 961. Was hijacked by a few men who wanted to seek asylum in Australia. Pilots tried to explain that their plane didn't carry enough fuel to make it to Australia, but the hijackers insisted the pilots to fly the plane to Australia.
Ended up hitting the water near Comoros Island and killing most of the passengers (including the hijackers).
Imagine a similar moron hijacking the Malyasian flight and demanding the pilot fly to Argentina, for example, and maintain radio silence/turn off the transponder.
The NSA only protects Americans, not some random plane full of Malaysians.
Oh, wait, four Americans were onboard? Okay, they'll start checking the billions of datapoints they have to determine who talked to who on the phone at some point in the past preventing them from actually spending any resources dealing with either "the present" or "the future".
That was my first thought. Sure, they've scooped up quadrillions of data points, but they can't figure out how to sift through any of it. I do think @peregrinus_bis is onto something with his point (1). Every scrap of conflicting information coming from the various officials "in charge" of the investigation makes them appear less and less competent.
I assume that's it. Too many satellites in the sky for this plane to have truly disappeared.
In Malaysia, people following the twitter accounts of the ministers and other officials have been shocked to see the disreputable self-publicising efforts going on - e.g. "here's me [grinning for the shot] with the weeping mother of three children on the plane" kind of thing.
Flight 961 damn near made it - apparently one of the hijackers, just as the plane was ditching (perfectly), interfered massively with the controls and caused the wing to dip into the water, destroying the lives of so many people.
Really? I think that's by far the less likely possibility.
Lack of coordination/information sharing and lack of timely access to the most advanced military/spy satellite data could easily combine to keep information about the crippled and/or hijacked plane's course obscure and/or inadequately shared for a few days. That the public is only now learning that the plane may have flown in the general direction of India for several hours under radio silence seems plausible to me. It means it took four days or so for the appropriate satellite data to be processed and shared among relevant parties.
If that is true but was not immediately clear, it means a lot of time has been wasted searching in all the wrong places, and the search now must switch to a vastly larger and deeper body of water, still with uncertainty as to the flight path.
I won't be surprised if it takes months, even years, before the wreckage is found. I will be completely flabbergasted if the plane is found intact on terra firma.
Sadly, many of those passengers on flight 961 would have lived if they had waited until after they exited the plane to inflate their life vests. By inflating them beforehand, they floated to the top inside the fuselage after the water rushed in and they couldn't get down to the door and drowned as a result. If you're ever in a plane that's about to ditch into the water, pull the life vest cord only after you're out the door.
One thought is remember Malaysia is a muslim nation, and has in the past been reticent about uncovering ne'er-do-wells.
So the idea that Al-Q or some other splinter of extremism might have hijacked it is not as plausible as it might seem. In fact - who has a beef with Malaysia at all?