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

Submitted by A Jay Cristol (United States), Jan 2, 2003 at 15:53

The negative user comments posted in response to the Daniel Pipes review of my book "The Liberty Incident" have one thing in common. They all are from persons who have their minds made up and it appears most are not interested in the facts and have not read the book. If after you read the book and visit my website and then disagree with my conclusion that the attack was a tragic mistake, it is a free country. You should know that the conclusion of tragic mistake is not mine alone.

The U.S. Navy Court of Inquiry convened just days after the event made 52 findings of fact. Three of the most important findings are:

1. Available evidence combines to indicate the attack on Liberty on 8 June was in fact a case of mistaken identity,

2. The calm conditions and slow ship speed may well have made the American flag difficult to identify, and

3. There are no available indications that the attack was intended against a U.S. ship.

The 727 page record, including 155 pages of sworn testimony by the commanding officer of the ship, William McGonagle, and other Liberty crew members, may be obtained from the Navy Judge Advocate General. Admiral John McCain, the Commander-in-Chief of U.S. Naval Forces Europe (and father of Senator McCain), endorsed the Court of Inquiry:

The foregoing comments by the convening authority lead to an overall
conclusion that the attack was in fact a mistake.

The Central Intelligence Agency in a letter from its director to a United States Senator dated February 27, 1978 stated the position of the CIA:

It remains our best judgment that the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty
was not made in malice toward the United States and was a mistake.

Clark Clifford, Chair of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, reported to the President

"Information thus far available does not reflect that the Israeli High
Command made a premeditated attack on a ship known to be American."

Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1967 that there was

"No evidence that the individuals attacking. . .knew they were attacking
a U.S. ship."

In 1981, the National Security Agency blamed Israeli miscalculations and American communications failures for the tragedy. Eight U.S. Presidents, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush, have all agreed that the Liberty incident was a tragic case of mistaken identity.

My book, "The Liberty Incident," is a collection of all the official investigations plus my own investigation and an analysis of the many contradictory conspiracy theories endorsed by some of the negative commentators. I merely suggest the reasonable approach to reaching a conclusion on this matter is to read the book before making a decision.

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