March 18th, 2014
07:13 PM ET

U.S. Officials: No link seen between missing jet and 2001 Malaysian hijack plot

By Paul Cruickshank and Nic Robertson

It is very unlikely there is any link between the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 and an aborted hijack plot involving Malaysia militants in late 2001, current and former U.S. intelligence officials tell CNN.

A former British al Qaeda operative, Saajid Badat, outlined details of the Malaysian plot in federal court in New York last week, fueling media speculation about a possible link.

He testified that he spent time with a small group of Malaysians in Afghanistan and Pakistan in late 2001 tasked with hijacking aircraft in Southeast Asia.

In the weeks after 9/11, Badat was one of two British recruits directed by 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to detonate shoe bombs simultaneously on separate passenger aircraft over the United States.