The Coincidental Lost And Found IDs In Terror Cases

Fact checked

A recurring theme major terror incidents in the western world is that authorities often very quickly find the perpetrators IDs shortly after the attack. Whether its through an error on the terrorists side or through a lucky coincidence, time and time again authorities are able to quickly identify those responsible for the attack by discovering ID near the scene of the crime.

The recent Paris attacks saw one of the alleged perpetrators, Said Kouachi, leave his ID card behind in an abandoned getaway vehicle.  “It was their only mistake,” Dominique Rizet, police and justice consultant for CNN-affiliate BFMTV, opined.


It seems like a careless mistake to make considering he went to the trouble of hiding his identity by wearing a mask during the attacks. reports:

Intriguingly, such apparent gaffes have marked other watershed violence. Consider these examples, and draw your own conclusion:

The Bundle of James Earl Ray: The accused killer of Martin Luther King escaped from a prison shortly before the attack, and left several items on the sidewalk near the assassination site—in a bundle that included his rifle, binoculars, clothing, his prison radio, and a newspaper clipping revealing where King would be staying.


Bundle of evidence dropped by James Earl Ray.

The Wallet of Lee Harvey Oswald: The alleged assassin of John F. Kennedy and killer of Officer J.D.Tippit purportedly dropped his wallet, which was found at the scene of Tippit’s murder. To some, this appeared a little too neat. In any case, original law enforcement reports with this scenario were almost immediately replaced by another version: that the police took the wallet from him after he was arrested. (See “Assignment: Oswald” by former FBI agent James P. Hosty.)


Oswald’s military ID, said to have been stained by FBI fingerprinting fluid.


Contents of Oswald’s wallet.

The Visa of Satam al-Suqami: This identify document of one of the alleged 9/11 hijackers somehow survived unscathed a few blocks from the twin towers, though the plane itself was virtually obliterated.


Visa belonging to Satam al-Suqami

The Passports belonging to Ziad Jarrah and Saeed al-Ghamdi: The passports of two alleged hijackers of United Airlines Flight 93 supposedly survived the fiery crash in Pennsylvania that left the aircraft itself charred and widely scattered—with one passport entirely intact.


Remains of Ziad Jarrah’s visa.


Passport of Saeed al-Ghamdi