Scripps Howard News
August 7, 2011
Authorities in New York City and at the Social Security Administration now have explanations for why most of the 3,000 victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks are missing from an important federal registry of deaths.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
The federal government was fully informed by city officials about all of the tragic deaths — authorities agree — but was prevented from publicly releasing them because of a morass of reporting laws and restrictions.
Since few bodies were recovered from the collapsed World Trade Center’s twin towers, privately owned funeral homes did not independently report the deaths to the Social Security Administration, as is their common practice.
But these reasons raise new and troubling questions about the reliability of the Death Master File — a public record overseen by Social Security and widely used by credit agencies, banks and other business interests. The file was created in 1980 under a Freedom of Information lawsuit brought by U.S. businesses seeking protection from identity theft and consumer fraud.