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Several books and the BBC documentary USS Liberty: Dead in the Water argued that

Liberty was attacked in order to prevent the U.S. from knowing about the forthcoming
attack in the Golan Heights, which apparently would violate a cease-fire to which Israel's
government had agreed.[4][dead link] Russian author Joseph Daichman, in his book
"History of the Mossad" states Israel was justified in attacking the Liberty.[49] Israel
knew that American radio signals were intercepted by the Soviet Union, and that the
Soviets would certainly inform Egypt of the fact that by moving troops to the Golan
Heights, Israel had left the Egyptian border undefended.[50] Such motives remain hotly
contested however. The USS Liberty had no Hebrew translators on board, but was
manned to monitor Arabic and Soviet radio traffic, although Israel may not have known
this.[citation needed]
Lenczowski notes that while the Israeli decision to attack and destroy the ship may
appear puzzling, the explanation seems to be found in Liberty's nature and task of
monitor communications on both sides in the war zone. He writes, Israel clearly did not
want the US government to know too much about its dispositions for attacking Syria,
initially planned for June 8, but postponed for 24 hours. It should be pointed out that the
attack on the Liberty occurred on June 8, whereas on June 9 at 3 AM, Syria announced its
acceptance of the cease-fire. Despite this, at 7 AM, that is, four hours later, Israels
minister of defense, Moshe Dayan, gave the order to go into action against Syria. [51]
He further writes that timely knowledge of this decision and preparatory moves toward it
might have frustrated Israeli designs for the conquest of Syrias Golan Heights and, in
the sense of Enness accusations, provides a plausible thesis that Israel deliberately
decided to incapacitate the signals-collecting American ship and leave no one alive to tell
the story of the attack. [52]
U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Barbour, had reported on the day of the Liberty attack that he
"would not be surprised" by an Israeli attack on Syria, and the IDF Intelligence chief told
a White House aide then in Israel that "there still remained the Syria problem and perhaps
it would be necessary to give Syria a blow,"[53]
The 1981 book Weapons by Russell Warren Howe asserts that Liberty was accompanied
by the Polaris armed Lafayette-class submarine USS Andrew Jackson, which filmed the
entire episode through its periscope but was unable to provide assistance. According to
Howe: "Two hundred feet below the ship, on a parallel course, was its 'shadow'- the
Polaris strategic submarine Andrew Jackson, whose job was to take out all the Israeli
long-range missile sites in the Negev if Tel Aviv decided to attack Cairo, Damascus or
Baghdad. This was in order that Moscow would not have to perform this task itself and
thus trigger World War Three."[54]
James Bamford, a former ABC News producer, in his 2001 book Body of Secrets,[55]
proposes a different possible motive for a deliberate attack: to prevent the discovery of a
massacre by the IDF of Egyptian prisoners of war that was supposedly taking place at the
same time in the nearby town of El-Arish.[56] In 1995, mass graves of Egyptian soldiers
were discovered outside of El-Arish, and IDF veterans have admitted that unarmed
civilians and prisoners of war were murdered in the 1967 War.[5][6]
In 2003, journalist Peter Hounam wrote Operation Cyanide: How the Bombing of the
USS Liberty Nearly Caused World War III, which proposes a completely different theory

regarding the incident. In an attempt to explain why there was no support by U.S. forces
as backup, Hounam claims that Israel and U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson had secretly
agreed on day four of the Six Day War that Liberty would be sunk with complete loss of
life. The attack would be blamed on Egypt, allowing the U.S. in turn to attack Egypt, thus
helping out Israel. However, according to Hounam's theory, because the Liberty did not
sink after two hours, the plan was quickly reversed, Israel apologized for the case of
mistaken identity, and a cover-up put into place.[citation needed]
The press release for the BBC documentary film Dead in the Water states that new
recorded and other evidence suggests the attack was a "daring ploy by Israel to fake an
Eygptian attack" to give America a reason to enter the war against Egypt. Convinced that
that attack was real, President of the United States Lyndon B. Johnson launched nucleararmed planes targeted against Cairo from a US aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean. The
planes were recalled only just in time, when it was clear the Liberty had not sunk and that
Israel had carried out the attack. An information source for the aircraft being nucleararmed, James Ennes, later stated that he was probably wrong in his original book.
According to Ennes, the planes were not nuclear-armed, but most likely armed with
Bullpup missiles.[57] The video also provides testimonal evidence of a covert alliance of
US and Israel intelligence agencies.[58]
Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a critic of
the official United States Government version of events, chaired a non-governmental
investigation into the attack on the USS Liberty in 2003. The committee, which included
former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia James E. Akins, held Israel to be culpable and
suggested several theories for Israel's possible motives, including the desire to blame
Egypt and bring the US into the Six Day War.[59]

[edit] NSA tapes and recent developments

On July 2, 2003, the National Security Agency released copies of the recordings made by
an EC-121 aircraft that flew near the attacks from 2:30 p.m. to 3:27 p.m., Sinai time
(1230 to 1327 Z), and the resultant translations and summaries.[7] These revelations were
elicited as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by Florida bankruptcy judge and
retired naval aviator Jay Cristol. Two linguists who were aboard the EC-121 when the
recordings were made, however, have claimed separately that at least two additional tapes
were made that have been excluded from the NSA releases up to and including a June 8,
2007 release.[2]
English transcripts of the tapes recorded by U.S. warplanes indicate that Israel still
believed it had hit an Egyptian supply ship even after the attack had stopped. [8] [9] After
the attack, the rescue helicopters are heard relaying several urgent requests that the
rescuers ask the first survivor pulled out of the water what his nationality is, and
discussing whether the survivors from the attacked ship will speak Arabic. [10]
The NSA reported that there had been no radio intercepts related to the attack made by
the Liberty herself, nor had there been any radio intercepts made by the U.S. submarine
Within an hour of learning that the Liberty had been torpedoed the Director, NSA, LTG
Marshall S. Carter, USA, sent a message to all intercept sites requesting a special search

of all communications that might reflect the attack or reaction. No communications were
available. However, one of the airborne platforms, a U.S. Navy EC-121, had collected
voice conversations between two Israeli helicopter pilots and the control tower at Hazor
Airfield following the attack on the Liberty.[11]
The NSA-translated tapes show that the helicopters were first dispatched to rescue
Egyptians (control tower to helicopter 815 at 1234Z: "The ship has now been identified
as an Egyptian ship"), and that they demonstrate confusion as to the identification of the
target ship. (e.g. control tower to helicopter 815 at 1310Z "The first thing is for you to
clarify what nationality they are. Notify me immediately.") Cristol adds: "The tapes
confirm that the helicopter pilot observed the flag at 3:12 p.m." (1312Z) which would
coincide with the audio tapes the Israel Air Force released to Cristol of the radio
transmissions before, during and after the attack. The English translations of the Israeli
Air Force tapes are published in Appendix 2 of Cristol's book The Liberty Incident.
On October 10, 2003, The Jerusalem Post ran an interview with Yiftah Spector, one of
the pilots who participated in the attack [12], and thought to be the lead pilot of the first
wave of planes. Spector said the ship was assumed to be Egyptian, stating that: "I circled
it twice and it did not fire on me. My assumption was that it was likely to open fire at me
and nevertheless I slowed down and I looked and there was positively no flag." The
interview also contains the transcripts of the Israeli communications about the Liberty.
The journalist who transcribed the tapes for that article, Arieh O'Sullivan, later confirmed
that "the Israeli Air Force tapes he listened to contained blank spaces."[2]
The Liberty's survivors contradict Spector. According to subsequently declassified NSA
documents: "Every official interview of numerous Liberty crewmen gave consistent
evidence that indeed the Liberty was flying an American flag - and, further, the weather
conditions were ideal to ensure its easy observance and identification."[60]
On June 8, 2005, the USS Liberty Veterans Association filed a "Report of War Crimes
Committed Against the U.S. Military, June 8, 1967" with the Department of Defense
(DoD). They say Department of Defense Directive 2311.01E requires the Department of
Defense to conduct a thorough investigation of the allegations contained in their report.
DoD has responded that a new investigation will not be conducted since a Navy Court of
Inquiry already investigated the facts and circumstances surrounding the attack.
As of 2006, the National Security Agency (NSA) has yet to declassify "boxes and boxes"
of Liberty documents. Numerous requests under both declassification directives and the
Freedom of Information Act are pending in various agencies including the NSA, Central
Intelligence Agency, and Defense Intelligence Agency.
"...On June 8, 2007, the National Security Agency released hundreds of additional
declassified documents on the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty, a communications
interception vessel, on June 8, 1967." [13]
On October 2, 2007, The Chicago Tribune published a special report[2] into the attack,
containing numerous previously unreported quotes from former military personnel with
first-hand knowledge of the incident. Many of these quotes directly contradict the U.S.
National Security Agency's position that it never intercepted the communications of the
attacking Israeli pilots, claiming that not only did transcripts of those communications
exist, but also that it showed the Israelis knew they were attacking an American naval

Documents of the Israeli General Staff meetings, declassified in October 2008, show no
discussion of a planned attack on an American ship.[61]