No one really wants to be the bad guy who ordered the dumping of 9/11 victims' remains into a landfill, so one official at Dover Air Force Base is clearing his name and blaming his bosses.
The Washington Post reports that William Zwicharowski, who served as interim director of the mortuary at Dover Air Force Base in 2002, says that he and an unnamed Air Force commander wanted to bury the unidentified ashes at sea, but were overturned by superiors. "We fought the fight, but I had zero clout back then," Zwicharowski said in the Post report, which adds that officials at the Pentagon have e-mails where Zwicharowski discussed and fought over what to do with the ashes. “The decision was made at a higher level. Had I had the experience I have now, 10 years later, I would have stood up and probably just not done it." The plan Zwicharoski's superiors approved was letting an outside contractor deal with the remains recovered from the crash of American Airlines Flight 77 and the Pentagon. Those remains ultimately ended up in a landfill not Arlington cemetery, according to a Defense Department report. Zwicharowski's testimony is just one facet in this jumbled, embarrassing mess which Pentagon officials are currently trying to sort out. According to the Houston Chronicle, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is scheduled to brief the families around the middle of this month.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.