TODAY   |  September 21, 2014

Analyst: Too early to speculate on terrorism in missing plane

Malaysia has been successful in its counter-terrorism efforts, and targeting a flight to Beijing wouldn’t align with any known terrorist groups, said Michael Leiter, a counter-terrorism analyst.

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

>> michael leiter is an nbc counterterrorism analyst, also with us this morning. michael, good morning.

>> good morning. how are you?

>> i'm doing well. thank you. and thanks for being with us. as we just heard from greg feith and we have talked about this morning, the weather conditions were fine. the fact that there was no distress call , as greg said, says to him that something catastrophic definitely could have happened. at this hour, again, early in the investigation, but how closely do you believe investigators should be looking at the possibility. terrorism?

>> i think they will, but as you've stressed, it's so early. without having any real facts here, you can't speculate on terrorism. and i think there are a number of factors which suggest it probably wasn't. malaysia 's actually been very successful in its counterterrorism efforts. it has excellent security at its airports, has some weaknesses in the border, but as a general matter in this region, on this flight, i don't think that terrorism would be the first place investigators would look.

>> so, nothing in particular about the city of origin, the destination or the flight path that would raise a red flag ?

>> not really. kuala lumpur has been a huge entry and exit point for some terrorist organizations in the past, but not aiming at malaysia . and the relatively low-scale terrorist incidents that malaysia has seen have not really been around kuala lumpur . and again, targeting that flight to beijing really wouldn't align with any known terrorist group . so, i think until the investigation recovers some of this wreckage, looks into how any explosion might have occurred, if that is what happened, it will be too early to speculate on any sort of terrorist event.

>> michael leiter , appreciate your time and insight this morning. thank you.

>> thanks.