A new document obtained from the 9/11 Commission’s files shows that the DNA of one of the alleged 9/11 hijackers, presumed Flight 93 pilot Ziad Jarrah, was positively identified. A sample taken from the plane’s crash site in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, was matched with a sample taken by German authorities from the residence of his girlfriend. The document was found at the National Archives by History Commons contributor paxvector, and posted at the History Commons site at Scribd.
DNA samples of fourteen of the nineteen hijackers were reportedly found at the three crash sites after the attacks. However, it was previously thought that the DNA samples were only identified by a process of elimination–if a DNA sample at a crash site did not match that of a victim it was presumed to be from a hijacker. In addition, the FBI took DNA samples from places–such as hotel rooms–it thought the hijackers had been and matched them with the non-victim samples from the crash sites.
The document that discloses Jarrah’s positive identification is entitled “How FBI Determined the 19 Hijackers’s Identities” and is undated, although it presumably comes from 2003 or the first half of 2004. It was drafted in response to an inquiry by commission staffer Thomas Eldridge.
The section about the identification of Jarrah’s DNA reads:
The Budeskriminalamt (BKA – German Federal police) provided DNA profiles obtained from search warrants conducted on Ziad Jarrah’s girlfriend (Aysel Sengun) residence. The FBI Laboratory compared the DNA profiles provided by the BKA, with DNA profiles from the four sets of unknown human remains recovered at the crash site of UAL Flight 93.
The DNA profiles provided by the BKA matched the sample of one of the sets of unknown human remains, (ACS 315N-NY-280350-OUT, Serial 4417.)
The document makes it clear that the relatives of the other eighteen alleged hijackers did not provide samples for comparison. However, it is still unclear why this was not done. There has been some media speculation that it was to spare the sensitivities of oil-rich Saudi Arabia, which provided fifteen of the alleged nineteen.