There is no need to doubt the death of Osama bin Laden. The former leader of Al-Qaeda and mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks died on May 1, 2011, and was buried at sea two days later. Although many questions were brought up about the validity of his death, it was ultimately confirmed by both visual recognition and DNA confirmation.
Scientists took DNA samples from body of the deceased and compared the DNA to a sample from a sister of Osama Bin Laden. The sister was also deceased from natural causes, and her DNA was obtained through a court order.
One of the reasons why DNA was important is that it is known that Bin Laden used body doubles to ensure his own safety. So, what if it was a body double who had been shot and killed by U.S. troops? And here’s the rub: the body double could even be a cousin of Bin Laden.
DNA Testing And Siblings
The purpose of the test was to prove that the person at Osama’s compound was a close genetic relation of Osama Bin Laden’s sister. How did the government agencies know that the deceased woman shared two parents with Bin Laden? Well, this would be down to genealogical proof i.e. civil records. And after all, the woman herself stated she was a Bin Laden.
A DNA test of two full siblings will show that they share about 50% of their DNA.
However, there is another type of relationship that can share 50% of DNA. It is the relatively rare scenario where two identical siblings have children with two other identical siblings.
This is rare, but perhaps not as rare as you think. In 2018, there were reports in newspapers about two different marriages between identical twin brothers and the identical twin sisters!
Limitations Of The Bin Laden DNA Matching
DNA can’t tell us whether double identical twins were involved in the Bin Laden case. That would need to be the subject of a family investigation. It’s fair to say that such a scenario would be local knowledge. So, let’s rule it out as a possibility.
That leaves us with the DNA matching results proving that the sample from the body in the Osama compound is a male sibling of the lady known to be a sister of Osama Bin Laden.
That doesn’t prove that the sample is Osama. It’s a brother of a known sister of Osama Bin Laden. That means it could be a different brother.
Definitive DNA Proof Of Identity
In order to confirm definitively that the sample was that of Osama Bin Laden, the testers would have had to have tested against a known other sample of the same man.
Apparently, such a sample was unavailable. So, Senator Dianne Feinstein, head of the Intelligence Committee at the time, wasn’t correct when she said that “the DNA is conclusive”.
However, Whitehouse spokesperson Jay Carney was more equivocal and more correct.
We have established beyond any doubt through DNA evidence, facial recognition, visual recognition..that Osama bin Laden was shot and killed on Sunday night.Whitehouse Spokesperson
The DNA evidence showed that the deceased was a brother of a sister of Osama Bin Laden. Additional verification was supplied through the use of facial recognition and visual recognition.