U.S. intelligence agencies put together an assessment in the wake of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 indicating that the plane was deliberately taken off course, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.
The assessment -- made months ago and concerning what most likely happened to the plane -- which disappeared in March 2014, also said that the Boeing 777 was also potentially deliberately downed, the source said.
However, according to the source, the assessment "doesn't matter" and was built on information that intelligence officials could glean about the foreign investigation in the disappearance.
Those foreign investigators "are the ones who ultimately will make the conclusion" of what happened to MH370.
The revelation comes as investigators were trying to piece together whether an airplane part that washed up on the shore of Reunion Island came from the doomed flight.
Based on a part number that was visible in pictures, Boeing workers believe it came from a 777, the same type of plane as MH370, according to a US official.
In the wake of the discovery, a worker found a tattered piece of luggage on the same beach.
The origin of the piece of luggage has not been determined, but it was seized by local police for examination.
Investigators were treating the airplane part, believed to be a "flaperon," as a major lead into the disappearance of the plane.
Flaperons help to stabilize the plane, especially at low speeds such as takeoff and landing.
"If this wreckage [is] from MH370, it's an important breakthrough, particularly for families," said Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss. "The families who have been involved with this long, long, long, long wait, for them to have some degree of closure would be great comfort."