Retired Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney — the recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Air Medal with 17 oak-leaf clusters, Distinguished Service Medal and other honors — is suggesting searchers looking for the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 take a look at possible landing spots in Taliban-controlled Pakistan.
In an interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News, McInerney, now a contributor to the network, said his recommendation was based on information from sources he was unwilling to disclose on television as well as the analysis of an intelligence service called LIGNET.
McInerney said the free world needs to be worried until the location of the jet, which disappeared March 8 on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, is determined.
“My concern is if this airplane could be used as a bearer of a weapon of mass destruction or even conventional munitions that could attack a carrier, Israel, our allies,” he said. “We have to be very alert until we know exactly where this airplane is.”
Investigators believe the airplane changed course shortly after takeoff and headed West for as long as seven hours. They are looking into the politics of the pilot, who had a Boeing 777 simulator set up in his own home from which data recently had been deleted.
McInerney said there are at least three bases in Taliban-controlled areas of western Pakistan that could handle the jet.
His theory is consistent with reports that the last “ping” heard from the jet’s Rolls Royce engines was about seven hours after takeoff in Malaysia.
LIGNET, the Langley Intelligence Group Network, provides global intelligence and forecasting by former CIA officers and others.
The LIGNET report McInerney cited noted that the Malaysian government “reportedly is investigating the possibility that missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 avoided radar detection and landed in Pakistan near the Afghanistan border inside Taliban-controlled territory, according to the UK Independent.”
The Malaysian foreign minister told reporters that Malaysia asked several Asian countries for assistance in its investigation, including Pakistan.
“Pakistan dismissed the idea that a Boeing 777 could land undetected inside the country but promised to work with the Malaysian government in its search for the missing plane,” the report said.
A LIGNET analyst, however, “received information from a source at Boeing that the company believes the plane did land in Pakistan.”
Israel, consequently, is mobilizing air defenses and scrutinizing approaching civilian aircraft, according to the Times of Israel.
A Boeing 777, LIGNET noted, requires a 7,500-foot runway, which are available in Pakistan, “meaning Flight 370 could conceivably be hidden in a hangar inside the country.”
“U.S. surveillance of the area may be able to shed light on the theory through satellite imagery or signals intelligence.”
McInerney said the LIGNET details aligned with what his sources revealed, but he was not at liberty to disclose more information.
“That’s all I want to say,” he told Hannity.
The general, who spent 35 years as a pilot, commander and strategic planner in the U.S. Air Force and later founded Government Reform Through Technology, said the U.S. Navy had a reason for halting its search in the Indian Ocean.
In addition, the Israel Defense Forces “must know something” that would prompt them to increase their defense alert.
He said the theory of the jet being hijacked to Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled territory answers some of the questions raised by the turning off of the transponder, military radar data and other information.
“It’s possible the U.S. knows much more than it’s saying,” he said.
See McInerney’s interview: