The following is a partial list of individuals and groups
that support the position that the attack was deliberate

This is the group that critic Jay Cristol calls "conspiracy theorists"

  • Admiral Isaac C. Kidd, President of the Navy Court of Inquiry. According to Kidd's legal counsel, Captain Ward Boston, USN, Kidd discussed with him his belief that the attackers were aware they were attacking an American ship. The Court ruled otherwise because they were so directed by Washington. (Navy Times, 6/26/2002)

  • Captain Ward Boston, legal counsel to the Navy Court of Inquiry. "I feel the Israelis knew what they were doing. They knew they were shooting at a U.S. Navy ship." (Navy Times, 6/26/2002)

  • George Christian, Press Secretary to President Lyndon Johnson. "No one in the White House believed that the attack was an accident." Letter to James Ennes, 1978.

  • Dean Rusk, US Secretary of State. Accidents don't occur through repeated attacks by surface vessels and aircraft. It obviously was a decision made pretty high up on the Israeli side, because it involved combined forces. The ship was flying an American flag. My judgment was that somewhere along the line some fairly senior official gave the go ahead. I personally did not accept the Israeli explanation. (Recorded interview, www.ussliberty.org)

  • Rear Admiral (then captain) Merlin Staring, Staff Legal Office for Commander in Chief US Naval Forces Europe and later Chief Judge Advocate General of the Navy. After reviewing the Court of Inquiry, he concluded that the evidence did not support the findings that the attack was an accident and declined to recommend that his Commander sign and forward it to Washington. (Statement to Navy Times, 3 June 2002 and elsewhere)

    Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, former Chief of Naval Operations and former Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff. "I have never believed that the attack on the USS Liberty was a case of mistaken identity. That is ridiculous. Israel knew perfectly well that the ship was American." (Americans for Middle East Understanding, June 8, 1997)

  • Richard Helms, former director, Central Intelligence Agency. "It was no accident." (Navy Times, 6/26/2002) Asked to say more, Helms remarked that he did not want to spend the rest of his life testifying in court about the attack. (A Look Over My Shoulder by Richard Helms)

  • Admiral Rufus Taylor, Deputy CIA director, told Helms, "To me, the picture thus far presents the distinct possibility that the Israelis knew that Liberty might be their target and attacked anyway. (A Look Over My Shoulder by Richard Helms)

  • Major General John Morrison, US Air Force, Deputy Chief NSA Operations during the attack and later Chief of NSA Operations. "....did not buy the Israeli ‘mistake' explanations either. Nobody believes that explanation." When informed by author Bamford of gruesome war crime (killing of large numbers of POWs) at nearby El Arish, Morrison saw the connection. "That would be enough," he said. "They wouldn't want us in on that. You've got the motive. What a hell of a thing to do." (Body of Secrets by James Bamford, p233).

  • United States Senator Adlai E. Stevenson III. "This book [Assault on the Liberty] gives convincing evidence that the attack was deliberate and that the facts, including the Navy's bungling before and during the attack, were covered up." (Congressional Record -- Senate S13136 September 23, 1980) Senator Stevenson later announced his interest in holding Congressional hearings on the attack. He pointed out that the survivors have been consistent in their accounts of what happened and that the attack was, in his word, "premeditated." (William J. Small, United Press International, September 28, 1980)

  • Oliver Kirby, former deputy director for operations/production, National Security Agency. "I can tell you for an absolute certainty that they knew they were attacking an American ship." Kirby participated in NSA's investigation of the attack and reviewed translations of intercepted communications between pilots and their headquarters which he reports show conclusively that they knew their target was an American ship. Kirby is considered the "Godfather" of the USS Liberty and USS Pueblo intercept programs. (Telephone interviews with James Ennes and David Walsh for Friendless Fire, Proceedings, June 2003)

  • William Odom, former director, National Security Agency, reported that on the strength of intercept transcripts of pilots conversation during the attack, the question of the attack's deliberateness "just wasn't a disputed issue" within the agency. (Interview with David Walsh on March 3, 2003, reported in Naval Institute Proceedings, June, 2003)

  • Admiral Bobby Ray Inman, USN, Director National Security Agency 1977-1981. Inman said he "flatly rejected" the Cristol thesis that the attack was an accident. "It is just exceedingly difficult to believe that [USS Liberty] was not correctly identified" based on his talks with NSA seniors at the time having direct knowledge of intercepted communications. No NSA official could be found who dissented from the "deliberate" conclusion. (Proceedings, June, 2003)

  • Paul C. Warnke, Undersecretary of the Navy and later general legal counsel to the Department of Defense. "I found it hard to believe that it was, in fact, an honest mistake on the part of the Israeli air force units. I still find it impossible to believe that it was."

  • Captain William L. McGonagle, Commanding Officer, USS Liberty. "USS Liberty is the only US Navy ship attacked by a foreign nation, involving large loss of life...that has never been accorded a full Congressional hearing."

  • George Ball, former under secretary of state. "The Liberty's presence and function were well known to Israel's leaders. ...Israel's leaders concluded that nothing they might do would offend the Americans to the point of reprisal. If American leaders did not have the courage to punish Israel for the blatant murder of American citizens, it seemed clear that their American friends would let them get away with almost anything. (The Passionate Attachment: America's Involvement with Israel, pages 57-58.

  • Clark Clifford, Secretary of Defense under Lyndon Johnson. "Inconceivable that it was an accident – 3 strafing passes, 3 torpedo boats. Set forth facts. Punish Israelis responsible. (Minutes of NSC Special Committee Meeting, 9 June 1967)

  • Dr. Louis Tordella, former deputy director, National Security Agency. Believed that the attack was deliberate and that the Israeli government attempted to cover it up. Tordella expressed that view to authors James Ennes and James Bamford and to Congressman George Mahon (D-Texas), and in an internal memorandum for the record. He noted "a nice whitewash" in the margin of the official Israeli excuse for the attack. ("A nice whitewash" remark was noted in NSA Gerhard report 1982)

  • Norman Finkelstein, PhD, author, professor of political science, DePaul University. (In a review of "Six Days of War" by Michael Oren.) "Oren...frequently descends to vulgar propaganda. Deeming the Israeli combined air and naval assault on the USS Liberty ...an accident,' Oren rehashes official Israeli tales and embellishes them with his own whoppers." (Journal of Palestine Studies, Spring, 2003, p85)

  • General Marshal Carter, former director, National Security Agency, in a telephone interview with James Ennes, described the attack as clearly deliberate.

  • Lucius Battle, former presidential advisor, as keynote speaker for 1982 USS Liberty reunion described attack as clearly deliberate.

  • FBI Officials. "FBI officials counter that ‘friendly' spying can be as damaging as spying for enemies, they note, as in 1967 when Israeli jets deliberately attacked the electronic intelligence- gathering ship USS Liberty...." (Washington Times, November 26, 1998)

  • James Akins, former US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. "How much better if Congress would....call to account those who were involved in spreading lies about the tragedy." (Special Report, The Israeli Attack on the USS Liberty, June 8, 1967, The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, December, 1999)

  • Victor Ostrovsky, author and former Mossad officer. "The attack was deliberate and not an accident." (Telephone conversation with Memo to File, former Congressman Pete McCloskey, October 10, 1991, and several conversations with James Ennes.)

  • Dwight Porter, former US Ambassador to Lebanon, who saw transcripts of Israeli communications during the attack. "It's an American ship!" the pilot of an Israeli Mirage fighter- bomber radioed Tel Aviv as he sighted the USS Liberty on June 8, 1967. Israeli headquarters ordered the pilot to carry out his mission, he reports. (Syndicated column "Remembering the Liberty" by Rowland Evans and Robert Novak, November 6, 1991.)

  • Sergeev Oleg Korneevitch, retired Colonel, Soviet GRU. "The historical event which took place in June 1967 can hardly be called enigmatic and mysterious. ...It is difficult to understand that the Israelis could not identity the USS Liberty, since the ship had a unique antenna and equipment and especially since the Israelis had identified the ship with long term observation." (Translated from a taped interview.)

  • Walter L. Jacobsen, Lieutenant Commander, US Navy. "The government of Israel intentionally attacked the ship. ...The attack was not legally justified. ...(there were) two further violations of international law...the use of unmarked military aircraft (and)...the wanton destruction of life rafts." (Naval Law Review, Vol 36, Winter 1986)

  • Stephen Green, author. "He indicates that the attack was not an accident." (Antelope Valley Press, April 5, 1984)

  • Paul Findley, author and former Member of Congress 1961-1983. "Certain facts are clear. The attack was no accident. The Liberty was assaulted in broad daylight by Israeli forces who knew the ship's identity. ...The public, however, was kept in the dark. Even before the American public learned of the attack, U.S. government officials began to promote an account satisfactory to Israel. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee worked through Congressmen to keep the story under control. The President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, ordered and led a cover-up so thorough that years after he left office the episode is still largely unknown...." (They Dare to Speak Out, by Paul Findley, 1985, page 166)

  • William F. Buckley, journalist and publisher. "Is the Liberty episode being erased from history. So it would seem...What has happened to our prying journalistic corps and our editors, normally so indignant of attempted suppression of the news?...We believe that a joint select committee of Congress should investigate the strange case of the USS Liberty..." (National Review, June 27, 1967)

  • Lloyd M. "Pete" Bucher, US Navy, Commanding Officer USS Pueblo when captured by North Korea in January 1968. "The attack on the USS Liberty was planned and there is and was a cover-up." "If the very valuable lessons of the Liberty were known, the capture of the USS Pueblo could not have happened." (Telephone conversations with James Ennes and on September 6, 2002, with Richard Schmucker)

  • Donald Neff, author. "Nearly everyone who is not affiliated with Israel...and who has seriously looked into the attack believes that it was deliberate. ...The bare facts of the attack rule out any other conclusion." (Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, August, 2002, p29)

  • Ralph Hoppe, Colonel, US Army, retired. Hoppe reports that dozens of intelligence reports soon after the attack described the attack as deliberate including a "consensus report" which summarized the collective view of the US intelligence community. Soon orders came from Washington to collect and destroy all such reports. Nothing more in official channels described the attack as deliberate. (Aerotech News and Review, March 2, 2001, by John Borne, PhD, and conversations with James Ennes)

  • Andrew and Leslie Cockburn, authors. "It is clear that the Israelis knew that they were attacking a vessel of the US Navy, especially as it was flying a large Stars and Stripes at the time. The fact that they spent six hours reconnoitering and executing the attack, which included machine-gunning the lifeboats, attest to the deadly intent of the operation. ("Dangerous Liaison, the Inside Story of the US-Israeli Covert Relationship," by Andrew and Leslie Cockburn, p152.)

  • Professor Hayden Peake, author, former CIA officer and member, Association of Former Intelligence Officers. "...A. Jay Cristol's virtual minority of one assessment is not supported by the detailed non-technical common sense evidence to the contrary in "Body of Secrets" (by James Bamford). "There is nothing surprising in Bamford's conclusion that the attack was deliberate. Liberty survivors have made that case convincingly for years." (The Intelligencer, Vol. 12, No.1, Summer 2001)

  • Ahron Bregman, PhD, author. Book reviews transcripts of communications during the attack which establish that the attack was deliberate. (Israel's Wars, 1947-1993, by Ahron Bregman)

  • USS Liberty Survivors. Survivors of the attack are unanimous in their conviction that the attack was deliberate. Among other things, their belief is based upon the intense pre-attack reconnaissance, the fact that the firing continued from close range long after the attackers examined the ship and its markings from a few feet away, and because the Israeli version of events as reported to the United States is grossly untrue.

  • Carl Salans, State Department Legal Advisor and author of highly critical detailed analysis of the Israeli excuse. In telephone interview from his home in France, Mr. Salans described the attack as deliberate.

  • Walter Deeley, NSA department head. Conducted still-classified investigation of the attack. Remarked later in telephone interview that he regards the attack as deliberate.

  • Ron Gotcher, Steve Forslund, Richard Block and Charles Tiffany are among several Air Force intelligence analysts who have come forward to report that they saw real-time transcripts of communications from the attacking forces which show clearly that they were aware they were attacking an American ship. Others who saw these transcripts include Dwight Porter and Oliver Kirby, mentioned above, and several top officials of the American intelligence community.

  • John Borne, PhD, adjunct professor of history, NY University. Published doctoral thesis establishing that the attack was deliberate.

  • John Stenbit, Assistant Secretary of Defense for C3I. "The Israelis told us 24 hours before that ...if we didn't move it, they would sink it. Unfortunately, the ship was not moved, and by the time the message arrived the ship was taking on water." (AFEI/NDAI Conference for Net Centric Operations, Wednesday, April 16, 2003)

  • Resolution #508 of the American Legion at its 49th annual national convention in August, 1967, rejected the US Navy Court of Inquiry as inadequate, declared that the attack was apparently deliberate, and called upon the United States to conduct complete and thorugh investigation.

  • "The [Navy Court of Inquiry] leaves a good many questions unanswered." (The New York Times, July 1, 1967)

  • "The naval inquiry is not good enough." (The Washington Post, June 30, 1967)

  • "They must have known...that Liberty was an American ship." (Washington Star, June 30, 1967)

  • "The action was planned in advance" (Drew Pearson and Jack Anderson in The Washington Post, June 30, 1967)

  • "Only the blind or the trigger happy could have made such a mistake" (The National Observer)

  • "The attack was deliberate. Those responsible should be court-martialed on charges of murder." (California Congressman Craig Hosmer in the Congressional Record--House, June 29, 1967, p. 17893)

  • "How can this be treated so lightly? What complaint have we registered? (Mississippi Congressman Thomas G. Abernethy in the Congressional Record--House, June 29m, 1967, pp. 17894-5)

  • The story has been hushed up." (Louisiana Congressman John R. Rarick in the Congressional Record--House, September 19, 1967, pp. 12170-6)

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Jim Ennes and Joe Meadors
USS Liberty