Senior lawmakers in the United States said on Sunday that investigators had found no evidence thus far pointing to terrorism in the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 three weeks ago, according to Reuters.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers and Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, speaking on Sunday talk shows, said they had seen no evidence of foul play.
"I have seen nothing yet that comes out of the investigation that would lead me to conclude that (this was) ... anything other than a normal flight that something happened and something went wrong," Rogers was quoted as having told "Fox News Sunday."
Rogers said U.S. investigators would conduct a detailed forensic analysis of the computer equipment, even as they continue to investigate the crew and passengers of the plane, but he warned it would take "a tremendous amount of time."
"We're just going to have to be patient ... as this thing unfolds and the only way to really find out what happened is to try to find the airframe itself or as much of it is intact so they can do the forensic investigation on that," Rogers said.
Feinstein echoed those remarks on CNN's "State of the Union", saying she had not seen any evidence indicating a terrorist act brought the airplane down.
Asked if she had seen higher resolution satellite images of the possible debris identified in the Indian Ocean than those made public, Feinstein said she had not and suspected intelligence officials did not have such images.
"You have to understand that American intelligence doesn't gear itself to be ready for plane crashes. That is not its job. Our job is terrorism and missile defense and that kind of thing," Feinstein said.
U.S. officials close to the investigation said the FBI examined data it received from a home-made flight simulator and other computer equipment used by MH370's pilots, but found nothing illuminating.
On Friday, international search teams had announced that hundreds of objects had been found off the Australian coast, presumably from the missing Boeing 777. The floating objects, ranging from 6.5 feet to 50 feet in size, were discovered scattered over an area roughly 1,680 miles south-west of the Australian city of Perth.
On Sunday, however, Australian authorities announced that the debris found floating in the Indian Ocean may not be related to the disappearing flight.
So far a range of theories as to the fate of the flight have emerged, from hijacking to crashing to being diverted for use in a terror attack, possibly against Israel. Later theories have become even wilder, ranging from an onboard fire to a suicide mission.
However, so far nothing concrete has been found to explain the plane’s mysterious disappearance.
The Malaysian government has said it believes the plane's course was altered as a deliberate act, but it remains unclear by whom, or whether the change was made in response to a technical fault.