Missing Malaysian jet a 'top priority' : Obama

national March 20, 2014 00:00

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President Obama said Wednesday the hunt for the missing Malaysian airliner is a "top priority," as the FBI joined the investigation into the mystery.

Obama told KDFW-TV of Dallas that the U.S. and Malaysian governments will work closely together to find the plane, which disappeared March 8 while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. All 239 people on board are missing, USA Today reported Wednesday.

"We have put every resource that we have available at the disposal of the search process," Obama said. "There's been close cooperation with the Malaysian government ... anybody who typically deals with anything related to our aviation system is available."

The president added, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families -- I want them to be assured that we consider this a top priority, and we're going to keep on working."

He said the NTSB will also be involved in the probe. The FBI is expected to begin analyzing hard drives from computers seized at the pilots' homes as soon as this week.

A federal law enforcement official said the material, including a flight simulator recovered from one of the pilot's homes, is likely to be shipped to the FBI's lab in Quantico, Va. The official is not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation and requested anonymity.

Since the plane's disappearance, the FBI and Justice Department had offered to assist the Malaysian government but until now had not been formally invited to join the inquiry as is required.

Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday that the two governments have been "in ongoing conversations about how we can help."

"We're working with authorities, but we don't have any theories (on the cause of the plane's disappearance)," Holder said Wednesday.

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