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U.S. military officer defends handling of 9/11 victims' remains

03-01-2012 10:06 BJT

WASHINGTON, Feb. 29 (Xinhua) -- A senior U.S. military officer on Wednesday defended handling of some remains of victims of the 9/ 11 terrorist attacks, saying mortuary personnel followed policies in place at the time.

Speaking at a Defense Writers Group breakfast, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz addressed the issue, which came to light after an independent report released on Tuesday by the Pentagon found that cremated partial remains tossed into a landfill at the Dover Port Mortuary in Delaware included victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Air Force officials found correspondence dated in March 2002 from David Chu, then the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, providing guidance on handling the remains, Schwartz said.

According to the guidance, for unidentified portions of remains that were commingled with other material from the event at the Pentagon, the practice was to cremate the remains, further incinerate them and then pass them to a contractor to dispose of the remainder in a landfill, he said.

The mortuary personnel followed those instructions, the general said, but the process changed in 2008, with all cremated remains now placed in a salt urn and given a retirement at sea.

Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said in a statement on Wednesday that Pentagon officials are continuing to assemble records and information on the past practices of disposition of partial remains.

The Pentagon will offer a briefing to 9/11 families in the next few weeks to provide this information, he said.

Editor:Wang Lingfei |Source: Xinhua

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