Jewish World Review August 5, 2011 / 5 Menachem-Av, 5771
Most 9/11 victims not on federal death records
By Dale McFeatters
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | One of the many mysteries fueling conspiracy theories about 9/11 is this: Even though 3,000 victims died in the collapse of the Twin Towers, a key federal database records that only 405 people died in the state of New York that day, not much more than the state's daily average of 350 deaths.
Indeed, most of the dead -- more than 90 percent -- were not recorded in the Death Master File, a registry maintained by the Social Security Administration and subject to a web of reporting and disclosure restrictions that make independent verification of its accuracy all but impossible.
The nature of the 9/11 tragedy was largely to blame for this glaring gap in an important federal record.
Normally hospitals and privately owned funeral homes report deaths to the master file but so few bodies were recovered from the debris there was little to report.
Another source of death reports is from family members seeking Social Security survivor benefits but the victims of 9/11 were overwhelmingly young, 70 percent of them under 40 and unlikely to have survivors eligible for the benefits.
And perhaps the main reason that most of the New York 9/11 victims appear to be missing from the official records is government secrecy. The Death Master File was created in 1980 after credit agencies, banks and other business interests filed suit seeking protection from identity theft and fraud. And the government is bent on maintaining that secrecy.
Social Security Administrator Michael Astrue, who has declined requests for interviews about the death file, told Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., many of whose constituents were among the victims, "We cannot legally share all or our death information." And a New York City official told Maloney, "Even though all New York City deaths are reported . . . the deaths are not public information."
The Death Master File is important for medical research and it determines the eligibility of the critically ill for organ transplants. Thus, its accuracy is vital.
But an earlier Scripps Howard News Service investigation found 32,000 living Americans mistakenly listed as dead, playing havoc with their ability to get jobs, obtain loans and clear background checks.
Federal and city officials insist that all of the 9/11 dead have been properly reported and recorded. We just have to take their word for it.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
Comment by clicking here.
• 08/04/11: Russian PM calls U.S. a parasite. He should be so lucky
• 08/03/11: Congress goes from one bind to another
• 08/02/11: D.B. Cooper may no longer be a mystery
• 08/01/11: Libya's latest weapon against NATO --- lawsuits
• 07/29/11: He'll always be known as Hot Wheels Handler
• 07/25/11: Recruiting children to save a dying town
• 07/22/11: Bachmann's admirable medical candor
• 07/12/11: Social Security's grave mistakes
• 07/08/11: Debt crisis need not be constitutional crisis
• 07/07/11: Startups entice new talent with kickball, treehouses
• 07/05/11: Stranded tourists get rare treat
• 06/30/11: The dollar Americans refuse to spend
• 06/27/11: The hangman doesn't cometh
© 2011, SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE