Dan Gilmore / November 5, 2015

U.S. Intelligence Suspects Islamic State Downed Aircraft

It is in Russian and Egyptian interests to deny the incident.

Egyptian and Russian officials say it was not an act of terrorism that downed a Russian passenger plane over the Sinai Peninsula Saturday, killing all 224 people on board. Hossam Kamal, the Egyptian minister for civil aviation, said Thursday, “The investigation team does not have yet any evidence or data confirming this hypothesis.” However, U.S. intelligence witnessed a flash of light on an infrared military satellite, which could have been caused by an exploding fuel tank or a bomb. Additionally, members of the intelligence community have told the American press in off-record interviews that they picked up jihadist chatter about the downed plane. This comes as the Islamic State franchise operating in the Sinai Peninsula released a recording taking credit for the aviation disaster. So far, America has no skin in the game. It’s not part of the investigation, and most of the civilian deaths were Russians. But its theory is backed by British intelligence, which also theorizes that a bomb planted on the aircraft sent it tumbling from the sky. And Britain is worried enough to suspend flights in the region. It is in Russian and Egyptian interests to deny the incident was a terrorist attack in an effort to present a façade of security. Egypt has its tourism dollars to defend. Russia has ignored the Islamic State in order to bomb Syrian rebels battling the Assad regime. If U.S. intelligence proves true, then it’s within Russia’s interests to smoke some Islamic State fighters — that is, if the Kremlin can bring itself to acknowledge the truth.

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