Israeli planes and boats were
attacking the Liberty, the
American plane, a Navy EC-121
aircraft, was far overhead,
and recorded Israeli
conversations, Mr. Bamford
wrote. And the crew heard
Israeli pilots talking about
seeing an American
The New York Times, on line, April 23,
added by this website:
Website hint: Click on book
to visit the brilliant
Doubleday website feature on the
ISRAEL MEANT TO ATTACK U.S.
Book Says Israel
Intended 1967 Attack on U.S.
By JAMES RISEN
April 22 - Israel's attack in 1967 on the
intelligence ship Liberty, which killed 34
American sailors and wounded 171 others,
was deliberate, according to a new book on
the National Security Agency, disputing
the long-standing Israeli claim that the
attack was accidental.
The book, "Body of Secrets," by
James Bamford, provides a detailed
recounting of the Israeli attack on the
American eavesdropping ship, along with
new evidence in an incident that has been
debated ever since Mr. Bamford wrote an
earlier book on the security agency, "The
Puzzle Palace," published in 1982.
Liberty, a slow, lightly armed Navy ship
that was working with the security agency
to monitor the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, was
attacked from both the air and sea by
Israeli forces off the Sinai coast on June
While the Israeli government said the
incident was an accident, it did pay
modest reparations to the victims and
their families. But Mr. Bamford writes
that the Israeli explanation is a cover
story for a deliberate attack meant to
prevent the United States from
eavesdropping on its military activities.
And the book provides evidence from crew
members of an American spy plane that
overheard the attack.
planes and boats were attacking the
Liberty, the American plane, a Navy
EC-121 intelligence-gathering aircraft,
was far overhead, and recorded Israeli
conversations, Mr. Bamford wrote. And
the crew heard Israeli pilots talking
about seeing an American flag.
The Israelis did not have any idea
"that witnesses were present high above,"
Mr. Bamford writes in
Secrets," which Doubleday is to
publish on Tuesday. The National Security
Agency "has hidden the fact the one of its
planes was overhead at the time of the
incident, eavesdropping on what was going
on below," he wrote.
"The intercepts from that plane, which
answer some of the key questions about the
attack, are among N.S.A.'s deepest
secrets." The aircraft crew did not hear
the Israelis mention the Liberty by name,
but did hear enough to piece together the
fact that Israeli forces were attacking a
ship flying the American flag. "Although
the attackers never gave a name or hull
number, the ship was identified as flying
an American flag," one air crew member
recalled in an interview with Mr.
"We logically concluded that the ship
was the U.S.S. Liberty."
Surviving crew members of the Liberty
also believed that the Israeli attack was
deliberate, according to those interviewed
in Mr. Bamford's book. Before the attack,
Israeli planes flew over the Liberty
repeatedly, they noted, and could have
clearly seen what it was. During the
attack, they could also see that it was
flying an American flag, they told Mr.
Mr. Bamford argues that the Liberty
attack came at a time when President
Lyndon B. Johnson was anxious to avoid
worsening relations with Israel in the
midst of the Middle East crisis. The
Israeli government gave Washington a
classified report to show that the attack
was a mistake, and the Johnson
administration then discounted the
"Despite the overwhelming evidence that
Israel had attacked the ship and killed
the American servicemen deliberately, the
Johnson administration and Congress
covered up the entire incident," Mr.
Bamford wrote. But security agency
officials never believed the Israeli
excuses, Mr. Bamford said. "The senior
leadership of N.S.A. officials who had
unique access to the secret tapes and
other highly classified evidence was
virtually unanimous in their belief that
the attack was deliberate," he wrote.
Walter Deely, who was a senior
N.S.A. official at the time of the attack
and who was ordered to conduct a secret
study of the Liberty for the agency, told
Mr. Bamford that his review showed "there
is no way they didn't know that the
Liberty was American."
John Morrison, an Air Force
major general who was deputy chief of the
agency 's operations at the time of the
attack, told Mr. Bamford that "nobody
believes that explanation."
items on this website:
McGonagle Dies, Captain
of USS Liberty
Findley investigates the
Israeli attack on the USS Liberty in
Says Israel Intended 1967 Attack on
of USS Liberty survivors: http://www.halcyon.com/jim/ussliberty/liberty.htm
and don't overlook http://www.ussliberty.com