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Malaysia's top official in charge of the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 jetliner rejected criticism on Tuesday from U.S. officials that it has not been sharing as much information as it could with foreign governments.
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER MH370 vanished en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in the early hours of March 8 with 239 passengers and crew on board. No trace of the plane has been found.
China has called for better coordination in the search operation for Malaysia Airlines missing plane now involving 26 countries, while some U.S. officials and politicians have expressed frustration at what they see as Malaysia's refusal of help.
Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein specifically defended coordination with the United States and China and said he had been in touch with his counterparts in both countries.
"This morning, I was (speaking) with (U.S. Defense Secretary) Chuck Hagel and then I was also with my counterpart (from) China," he told Reuters.
Hishammuddin denied reports that Malaysia had discouraged the Federal Bureau of Investigation from sending a team to Malaysia.
"I have been working with them. It's up to the FBI to tell us if they need more experts to help because it's not for us to know what they have."
Malaysian officials say they have been in touch with the FBI through the U.S. embassy, where the agency has a permanent representative, from "day one".
"No matter what everyone says, the cooperation that I am getting for Malaysia and for what efforts I am doing, it is overwhelming," Hishammuddin said.
Two U.S. security officials said on Monday that Malaysia had still not invited the FBI to send a team.
One source in Kuala Lumpur familiar with the investigation said an FBI team was in Malaysia to help with the probe. But another source familiar with the matter confirmed that no one had arrived from the United States to reinforce the FBI presence in the country.
An unprecedented search for the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 flight now stretches across Asia, from the Caspian Sea to the southern Indian Ocean.
Investigators are convinced that someone with deep knowledge of the Boeing 777-200ER and commercial navigation diverted the jet, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew, perhaps thousands of miles off course.
The FBI has extensive experience in investigating plane disasters, including the crashes off the U.S. east coast of TWA Flight 800 in 1996 and Egyptair Flight 990, en route from Los Angeles to Cairo,