2 Stolen Passports Raise Early Suspicions on Jet

US officials are at least exploring the possibility of terrorism

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 8, 2014 12:12 PM CST

(Newser) – Night has fallen with search crews finding no wreckage from the Malaysia Airlines jet that is presumed to have crashed into the Gulf of Thailand south of Vietnam. The only clue remains two long streaks of oil in the water. The Boeing 777 had reported no problems before disappearing from radar, and authorities are nowhere near ready to speculate on what might have gone wrong. But most coverage is now taking note of one suspicious-seeming fact: Two of the passengers appeared to be traveling with stolen passports, reports the New York Times. Specifically, an Austrian and an Italian listed on the manifest had their passports stolen previously in Thailand, reports AP.

Which may not mean anything, of course, and the Wall Street Journal quotes a European security official as saying it's not that unusual for stolen passports to turn up. But it's fishy enough to catch the attention of US security officials. “We are aware of the reporting on the two stolen passports,” one tells NBC News. “We have not determined a nexus to terrorism yet, although it’s still very early, and that’s by no means definitive.” The chief executive of Malaysia Airlines also addressed the reports, declaring that "we are not ruling out anything."

A woman cries at the arrival hall of the International Airport in Beijing Saturday.   (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
A woman, center, surrounded by media covers her mouth on her arrival at a hotel prepared for relatives or friends of passengers in Beijing.   (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
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