Unbelievably, some victim remains from the 9/11 terrorist attack at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania were knowingly sent to a landfill for disposal. The Defense Department, for the first time, admitted that some cremated victim remains were dumped in a landfill in a move the White House described as “unacceptable,” said US News.
The information only warranted two paragraphs in an 86-page report released Tuesday by an independent task force that was reviewing operations at the military’s Dover, Delaware mortuary, said NewsInferno. Retired Army General, John Abizaid, defended the move, saying that the information was a small part of the task force’s work, adding that, “We did not spend a great deal of time and effort and energy…. It’s my report, but it’s not the focus of the report,” he said, wrote US News.
The task force was formed by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta this December following an Air Force investigation that revealed some U.S. military personnel remains weren’t handled “in accordance with procedures.” The Air Force said it disposed of the incinerated remains of about 274 service members in the same landfill before stopping the practice in 2008; records only go back to 2003, said officials, according to US News.
The panel found the practice went back as far as 2001, saying it discovered “several portions of remains” recovered from the 9/11 attacks at the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania were found in a landfill.
Before 2008, remains that were not initially dentifiable, and which were later identified but for which loved ones asked that notifications cease and the remains be appropriately disposed of, were at a civilian crematory and returned to Dover, said US News. The cremated remains were sealed in containers sent to a biomedical waste disposal contractor, which, according to the contract in place, was to transport and incinerate the containers.
Apparently, following incineration, it was revealed that some residual material was found and the biomedical waste contractor was dumping the remains in a landfill, wrote US News. CNN said that of the close to 3,000 9/11 victims, 224 died at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania.
According to the report, the mortuary assumed no remains were left; however, confusion over the meaning of the words “final disposition” was one reason the unidentified 9/11 remains were brought to a landfill, said CNN.
Representative Rush Holt (Democrat-New Jersey) wrote to Secretary of Defense Panetta asking if the 9/11 victims did, in fact, end up in the landfill. “Can the Air Force confirm that no 9/11 victim’s remains were incinerated, mixed with medical waste, and sent to a landfill?” wrote CNN.
Of note, Representative Holt added, “In her November 2011 correspondence, Acting Undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness Jo Ann Rooney stated to me that the five hijackers responsible for the Pentagon attack were also identified by Dover from DNA samples. How were the remains of the hijackers handled?” said CNN.
A spokesman for Representative Holt told CNN that Secretary of Defense Panetta has not yet responded to the questions.