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Conspiracy Theories?

Reader comment on item: The Liberty Incident: The 1967 Israeli Attack on the U.S. Spy Ship

Submitted by David Smyth (United States), Nov 22, 2002 at 08:48

Mr. Pipes says of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty: "conspiracy theories pointing to a purposeful Israeli attack arose quickly and have persisted through the years."
About twenty years ago I did a story for the Associated Press on the Liberty incident that was published by the Los Angeles Times and a large number of other US newspapers.
I spoke to the following officials (their titles correspond to the positions they occupied at the time of the Liberty incident) and they all told me that the Israeli attack was deliberate, not an accident:
Secretary of State Dean Rusk
Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Thomas Moorer
CIA Director Richard Helms
NSA Deputy Director Louis Tordella.
I am no authority on conspiracy theories, but there seem to be three possibilities here. A) Rusk, Moorer, Helms and Tordella were all propagators of a conspiracy theory. B) They were all dupes of a conspiracy theory. C) There is no valid conspiracy theory.
I am retired now, but I have always considered it my business to report facts, not to disentangle conspiracy theories, so I will leave that task to others.
I might add that I gathered other statements. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara told me on the phone that he had "no recollection" of the Liberty Incident. I also talked on the phone to Admiral Isaac Kidd, who headed the naval court of inquiry into the Liberty attack. I told him what Rusk and the others had said and asked if he had any opinion on Israeli culpability. He said, "The giants of that time can speak out. I know when to keep my mouth shut."

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