- (Photo: REUTERS/Molly Riley)
A new report released by the Pentagon on Tuesday has said that the unidentified partial remains of victims from 9/11 were dumped in a landfill.
According to the Defense Department report, which was conducted by an independent review, the remains of victims from the terrorist hijacked plane that crashed in Shanksville, Pa. killing 40, and the remains of victims from the plane that crashed into the Pentagon killing 184, were taken to the Dover Air Force Base.
The remains that could not be tested or identified at the Air Force Base mortuary were given to a bio-medical waste disposal contractor, which took them to a landfill, according to the report.
Tuesday's report was the first time that the Pentagon had acknowledged that remains of 9/11 victims ultimately ended up in a landfill. The Defense Department is scheduled to brief reporters on the findings of the review later on Tuesday.
The Dover Air Force Base in Delaware is the first point of entry in the U.S. for fallen service members and has recently come under fire for its handling of troop remains. This past November, a Washington Post investigation found that the mortuary was disposing of the incinerated remains of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan in landfills.
In Tuesday's Pentagon report, the independent review also found that the mortuary at the base handled the remains of U.S. troops with "gross mismanagement" and found that the mortuary struggles with a "lack of clear command authority and supervision."
"It is imperative that policy, structural, and procedural solutions capture and reflect lessons learned from a decade of war and that these lessons are not lost for the next generation of fallen warriors," the report said.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said on Tuesday following the release of the report that he will take every step to protect the honor of fallen service members.
"My continuing promise to all the families of our fallen heroes is to protect the honor and respect that their loved ones richly deserve," Panetta said.
"Having being to Dover, I consider this a sacred place with a sacred responsibility," he added.