This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," March 14, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HISHAMMUDDIN, HUSSEIN, ACTING MALAYSIA TRANSPORT MINISTER: Together with our international partners we are now pushing further east into the South China Sea and further into the Indian Ocean. We want nothing more than to find the plane as quickly as possible, but the circumstances have forced us to widen our search.
RET. LT. GEN. TOM MCINERNEY, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I don't believe that this airplane crashed. I do believe it was hijacked. I do believe it landed someplace, and I would start first looking in Pakistan, runways large enough over 7,500 feet and that have a large hangar, and I would look in eastern Iran. But something very nefarious has happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Well, senior U.S. officials are now saying there's a high likelihood that this plane, Malaysian Airlines plane flight 370, crashed in the Indian Ocean, but do they know that for a fact? No. Take a look at the flight plan as we have seen it now for a week. This is where the plane took off from Kuala Lumpur. The last known position was right there, and it's believed to take a turn. Now the military is believed to be searching in this area, but it's a huge search zone, 2,530 miles. That is actually six times the size of the United States of America. Six times the U.S. is the search zone they are now looking in. But the U.S. military is saying that they believe that the Indian Ocean, and two specific spots, may be the spots where the plane actually went down.
We know that the plane was flying for four to five hours, according to officials, and that the pings from the equipment on board was still happening after it lost radar track. So let's bring in our panel, Steve Hayes, senior writer for The Weekly Standard, A.B. Stoddard, associate editor of The Hill, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. Charles, I just wanted to bring the panel because, well, everybody is talking about it, and I figured you guys could talk about it, too.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, an object this large does not disappear, particularly in an age where the NSA is listening to everything you do and can see everywhere you are. It's clear the Malaysians were holding a lot of information. And if it is true, the latest information that they have all the pings and it appears as if there was a hard left turn and it was in the air for four hours, then I think that makes mechanical failure extremely unlikely. It makes it extremely likely there's human agency and malevolent human agency, either a pilot or somebody on the plane who knew how to take command.
I heard the commander of the USS Kidd, one of our ships in the region, say that as of yesterday they were looking in an area the size of a chessboard when they were looking east of Malaysia, the initial track. Now they're looking at an area the size of a football field. So this is an enormous area they're going to have to canvas.
I think the likelihood of a landing in a state like even Pakistan is extremely small given the distance, the coordination, and the fact that you would really have to be an outlaw state to collaborate in this. In the past when you had hijackings into deserts, it was in lawless areas like the deserts of Jordan in the '70s. But not today, I don't think.
BAIER: And the other thing is as you're flying that way, at some point you reach someone else's radar, specifically India, and all of its concern about nuclear and facilities, and one would think that you would be in somebody's wheelhouse in a quick amount of time.
KRAUTHAMMER: And it would have to go near India, and India has its eye on Pakistan, its archrival, every day, every hour of the day.
A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE HILL: There are all the signs of a sharp curve and the sudden break in communications, and even perhaps the so-called pings may have been some desperate attempt once taken hostage to try to make some form of contact. But it all sounds as if there was a hostage situation and despite additional hours and hours in the air before it might have exploded.
It is hard to believe that it would make a landing on land. Yes, there are portions of Pakistan that are like the wild west, but as far as I understand them to be, they're quite mountainous, and it's a good place for the bin Ladens to hang out in their caves but it's not exactly where you land a plane without being discovered. So at this point, it's agonizing to be sure. But it more and more sounds as if it likely exploded somewhere.
BAIER: I talked today for about 30 minutes to a pilot who has 25,000 plus hours of experience in Asia, flying worldwide on a bunch of different aircraft. And he said he thinks it's highly unlikely that the thing just disintegrated because of breaks in the fuselage, in the aircraft itself. He thinks there was some kind of action by someone onboard is his thought, looking at all of the data up until now, and that either it is in the Indian Ocean or it hit land someplace, but that it went for a long time, judging by everything we're hearing so far.
But facts are tough in this case Steve because the Malaysians and all these press conferences have been tough, and it's been back and forth.
STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Yes, for a while, there was the absence of fact. And then there were erroneous facts. And so everybody is trying to piece together a puzzle without having all of the pieces to put it together.
I think the person you talked to and what Charles suggested is right. It certainly seems much more likely today than even earlier today or yesterday that this was either a hijacking or some sort of pilot psychological event that led to this. You know, there was the possibility, I think, until recently that there was some sort of onboard emergency, whether there was a fire. There's been a lot of talk about lithium batteries potentially causing a fire, other kind of onboard emergency that could have led the pilots to take some sort of drastic action. But when you factor in the turns and then this new information we have about the dramatic elevation changes, it seems to me highly unlikely they would be responding to something like that and far more likely, either that was the sign of a struggle, these elevation changes, or the pilot was just doing this on his own, between the pilots or the pilots versus hijackers.
BAIER: The other thing about the story that is so striking is that it opens up our eyes to what we don't know. For all of the stuff that we talk about, the NSA that knows all and that we have satellites all over the world that can see everything, the fact that we cannot find this plane, I think for a lot of people in America, is striking.
KRAUTHAMMER: Well, that's what makes it so surprising. We all assume that -- everybody has used Google and looked at it as it hones on anybody's house, you know – in Burma, if you want to find something. And yet we realize there are huge swaths of the globe that don't have -- only have fish that the satellites are not honed in on and where you can actually sort of hide, at least for a while. I think that that is a surprise to people.
But there also is the misinformation and the hiding by the Malaysians. The Malaysians were asked if this recording stuff was at the limits of their military intelligence, and they wouldn't answer what that limit is. It doesn't want other countries to know at which point it doesn't see anything. So they haven't helped at all. It's not like you would expect here where the information is given out as a matter of course.
BAIER: One more thing about the Chinese. They put out these images that they say they think are pieces of the debris, and the Malaysians say it's not. I just thought it was very strange, that whole back and forth. The satellites they could push down and see much more, well, closely into those pieces if they wanted to. What do you think is going on there?
HAYES: I mean odd for the Chinese not known as the most transparent government to put something like that out and then see it refuted pretty quickly if it is in fact a definitive reputation. Very strange for the Chinese to have done that.
BAIER: OK, we'll follow it.
Next up, the Friday Lightning Round.
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