USS Liberty Incident/Reliable Sources

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Reliable Sources are accounts that have come through a respected publication process showing some degree of editorial control. eg a book from a respected publisher, a respected newspaper/magazine, or a web-site with multiple respected contributors.

In some cases, such material comes via sources that are not themselves reliable (eg an authors own blog) but they are from authors who are, or can be regarded as, authoritative in relation to the subject. The full rule book is at Wikipedia: Reliable Sources. Wikispooks seeks to operate to standards of "Reliable Sources" that the Wikipedia seems unable to do on this topic.

Both the main Wikispooks article and this sub-article are intended to be read in conjunction with the Wikipedia account of the USS Liberty Incident. The Wikipedia article contains large amounts of detail (not avoidably duplicated here) presented in a distorted fashion.

Reliable Sources from independent commentators overwhelmingly dispute "accident theory"

Sources discussing the USS Liberty Incident overwhelmingly state that the Israelis knew they were attacking a ship of the US. Every one of the independent or "neutral" commentators (as best as can be ascertained) has come to believe that this attack could not have occured accidentally. This attack could not have been a case of "Friendly Fire".

However, it is necessary that the reader has the opportunity to check this for themselves and so this listing covers (or is intended to cover) all significant sources, including those showing conflict of interest, other bias or, in some cases, suspicion of fraud.

Note - The number of citations recorded by "Google Scholar" (last updated March 2012) has been used as a rough and ready guide to the reputation of author/s and the value of a book. There are 100s (if not 1000s) of references to this incident in published accounts and this listing will never be able to show them all. However, some accounts are taken seriously and cited by many other authors and some are not.

Please add all other significant accounts you are aware of. You will need to register as an editor or contact an administrator if you have additions or changes to make.

Editor Book with publisher, date In descending order, number of citations by Scholar. Green for Israeli version, an "accident", Red for "Not an Accident".
Orange for sources that are notable but are not cited (e.g. the Moorer Report sounds authoritative but rates nowhere in Google Scholar).
Bamford "Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the ultra-secret National Security Agency", 2001 Anchor, Doubleday x 2, Arrow, Century. (+ "The puzzle palace", 1983 various inc Penguin). Cited 211 times. Intelligence specialist author cited 382 times for "Puzzle Palace". "Despite the overwhelming evidence that Israel attacked the ship and killed American servicemen deliberately, the Johnson Administration and Congress covered up the entire incident." Find Articles.
Michael Oren "Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East", 2002 by Presidio Press. Cited 279 times Acclaimed ME author, cited 102 times for "Power, faith, and fantasy". From his JVL article Case Closed "there were breakdowns in communications between the Israeli navy and air force ... none of these amount to the kind of gross negligence of which the Israelis have been accused." Wikispooks note - Oren is an accomplished author on ME affairs, but he is also the Israel ambassador to the US and was in media relations for the IDF. His book acknowledges the Shalem Center which champions "a strong, free and Jewish State of Israel".
John Ranelagh "The Agency: The Rise and Decline of the CIA" 1986 Weidenfeld & Nicolson Cited by 275 Details unknown, but Michael Oren says of this book "describes the attack as intentional and malicious" and/or "argues that the truth has been obscured by a massive cover-up conducted by Israel and its advocates abroad."
John Loftus "The Secret War Against the Jews: How Western Espionage Betrayed The Jewish People" St. Martin's Griffin, 1997 Cited 74 times. A relatively well-cited book from a pro-Israel perspective (perhaps with mixed reviews?): "Israel's attack was justified because 'the Liberty was gathering electronic information ... relayed to the Arabs.'", a claim for which they fail "to present incontrovertible evidence" according to one admirer and "This is why the Israelis knocked out the American surveillance ship the USS Liberty Synopsis/review by Deane Rink.
Andrew and Leslie Cockburn "Dangerous liaison: the inside story of the US-Israeli covert relationship" 1991 HarperCollins Cited by 73 Michael Oren says of this book "describes the attack as intentional and malicious" and/or "argues that the truth has been obscured by a massive cover-up conducted by Israel and its advocates abroad."
Green, Stephen "Taking Sides: America's Secret Relations with a Militant Israel", 1984 Morrow, Faber, Amana Cited by 65 "Sometime in the late afternoon or early evening of June 7 ... the NSA learned, from an intelligence report emanating from the Office of the US Defense Attache in Tel Aviv, that Israel was planning to attack the Liberty if her course was not changed." p.215, cited by Ennes at
Donald Neff "Warriors for Jerusalem: The Six Days that Changed the Middle East" 1984 Simon & Schuster Cited by 63 Michael Oren says of this book "the charge of Israeli premeditation" features prominently.
JM Ennes "Assault on the Liberty: The True Story of the Israeli Attack on an American Intelligence Ship", 1979 - Random House Cited by 59 "US Air Force intercept operators heard Israeli jet being vectored to "the American ship" which they were ordered to sink quickly. Those who have seen these transcripts insist that they leave no doubt that the Israelis knew they were attacking an American ship." [1]
Richard Helms, CIA director in 1967 (with William Hood) "A look over my shoulder: a life in the Central Intelligence Agency", 2004, editions by Presidio, Random House and ?another Cited by 43 "one of the most disturbing incidents in the six days [war] ... Israeli authorities subsequently apologized for the accident, but few in Washington could believe that the ship had not been identified as an American naval vessel." WRMEA.
Richard Deason "The Israeli Secret Service" 1977 Hamish Hamilton Cited by 34 Michael Oren says of this book "describes the attack as intentional and malicious" and/or "argues that the truth has been obscured by a massive cover-up conducted by Israel and its advocates abroad."
A Bregman "Israel's Wars, A history since 1947" 2002, Routledge (+ others, eg "A History of Israel" 2003, Palgrave Macmillan, "The Fifty Years War: Israel and the Arabs", 1998, Penguin) Cited by 30 "Israel's Wars Since 1947" (Acclaimed ME author also gets 29 cites to "History" + 33 cites to "50 years") "A short but significant recording of a conversation over the radio link between Israeli pilots and the Air Force headquarters during the attack on Liberty, published here for the first time, shows beyond doubt, that the Israelis did know, even in the initial stages of their strike on Liberty, that this was an American vessel."Preface to 2002 edition, p.xiii of "Israel's Wars A history since 1947"
William B. Quandt "Lyndon Johnson and the June 1967 War: What Color Was the Light?" 1992, The Middle East Journal Cited by 24 Note 80 on page 225 says: "80. Clark Clifford was asked to determine who was responsible for the Liberty attack. According to the notes of the NSC Special Committee meeting on June 9, 1967 (declassified August 12, 1985), Clifford reported that it was "inconceivable that it was an accident." A marginal note says, "President agreed 100%."
AJ Cristol Google-book 2002 version is on web. "The Liberty Incident: The 1967 Israeli Attack on the US Navy Spy Ship" Book is [2] cited by 18. Web-version at Google books gets 1 cite "Ten official U.S. investigations and three official Israeli investigations have all concluded that the attack was a tragic mistake or that there is no evidence to establish that it was not a tragic mistake. Seven U. S. Presidents, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton have all accepted the conclusion that the attack was a tragic mistake."
Elie Podeh "The Lie That Won't Die: Collusion" 1967 Middle East Quarterly Winter 2004, pp. 51-62 Cited by 7 in Scholar. "Israel's mistaken attack on the USS Liberty, a radio ship of the U.S. Sixth Fleet near the shores of Sinai, was paraded as proof that U.S. forces were located near the battlefield and therefore took part in the war".
H Goodman, Z Schiff. "The Attack on the Liberty" Atlantic Monthly, September 1984. See False Flag Attacks for evidence that Zionist sources exaggerate all such attacks eg 1954 Lavon Affair. Cited by 6 This article is said to be the sole source for "the day before the Liberty was attacked, Israeli pilots accidentally bombed one of their own armored columns". "The IDF, who even recorded near miss friendly fire incidents, has no record of it that I can find" ... "All the secondary sources cite the same primary source (Goodman's 1984 article). The only incident that resembles the claim ... on the night of June 8th is no where near Jenin".
Peter Hounam "Operation Cyanide: How the Bombing of the USS Liberty Nearly Caused World War Three", 2003 Vision # Hardcover: 288 pages ISBN-13: 978-1904132196. cited by 3 or maybe by 6? "Peter Hounam reveals that the attack was part of a clandestine plan between the US and Israel known as "Operation Cyanide," designed to ensure victory for Israel in the Middle East. By blaming the attack on the Arab world, retaliation on a grand scale would be justified."
John E Borne "The USS Liberty: dissenting history vs. official history" 1993. Reconsideration Press (as Ph.D 1995 excerpts). Cited by 5 A promised book never appeared. Borne examines the "making" of history and says that the arguments of survivors and the USG have been consistent, while "The Israelis and their American supporters have been far less consistent". In "Realpolitik gone Haywire" 1995 by Richard D. Lee,LCDR, USN p.25 cites Borne as having said "The USDAO in Tel Aviv apparently sent a message warning that USS LIBERTY would be attacked if the ship patrolled off the Gaza."
Alan Hart Zionism The Real Enemy of the Jews v.2. WorldFocus, 2007. ITN reporter on 1967 war. Cited by 4. This ME specialist author cited 61 times and 35 times for 2 biographies of Arafat. p.138 "At about 2200 hours ... Israeli jets were homing their rockets ... The Office of the U.S. Defence Attache in Tel Aviv .... telegramme in code the message was that the IDF was planning to attack the 'Liberty' if the ship continued to move closer to the Israeli coast!"
Fishel, Reverdy S "The attack on the Liberty: an 'accident'?" International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 8, no. 3 (Fall 1995): 345-352. Article cited by 3 in Scholar. Fishel calls Loftus and Aarons' book, "a collection of preposterous and demonstrably false theories and allegations. With regard to the Liberty attack, the only significant detail they get right is that it was deliberate."[3] Fishel also quoted by JVL with 1995 "... trend towards acceptance of Israeli guilt ..."
James Scott "The Attack on the Liberty" 2009 - Simon & Schuster. James is a South Carolina investigative reporter, son of survivor John Scott Cited by 1 "Even President Lyndon Johnson believed it was a deliberate attack ... Israel's inquiry showed that a positive identification of the ship was made hours before the attack. This information, allegedly because of a miscommunication, was not relayed to the Israeli fighter jets and torpedo boat." Seattle Times and "pilot reports from the attack scene made clear to key individuals at command HQ that the ship was likely American and probably USS Liberty. Nonetheless, the attack continued."
Rowland Evans and Robert Novak "Remembering the Liberty" November 6, 1991, Washington Post. There is no accessible record of the original, only the authors defending it. Critics of Israel may have treated it as being uncertain? Cited by 2, Oren and Cristol - perhaps as a strawman argument to undermine other evidence? Critics of Israel may never have referenced it. Much of this article by two well respected US journalists is based on the testimony of Seth Mintz, who, despite being American, claims to have been inside the Israeli war room during the attack. The same day, Mints told Haaretz of his grave anxiety over the media interest in him ... Everyone is after me now, and that is what I'm afraid of. I don't need the Mossad and Shin Bet knocking on my door.[1] and on the 9th of Nov he retracted what he'd said in a letter to the Washington Post. (Israelis who have condemned Israel have done similar before eg Goldstone - though in his case, the retraction was quite slight).
Moorer Report, independent investigation of 2003. Admiral Thomas H. Moorer former Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff. Davis, former Assistant Commandant of The Marine Corps. Staring, former Judge Advocate General of US Navy. Akins former US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Barely recognised by Scholar, 0 citations. "... after eight hours of aerial surveillance, Israel launched a two-hour air and naval attack against USS Liberty ... there is compelling evidence that Israel's attack was a deliberate attempt to destroy an American ship and kill her entire crew ... there has been an official cover-up ... to the present day and is a national disgrace".Moorer Report.
Joseph Daichman "History of the Mossad" (Russian) Not in Scholar and perhaps never will be. Russian book alleged by Russian submariner Captain Nikolay Charkashin to state "Israel was justified in attacking the Liberty." UnitedStatesGovernment.Net


  1. Twenty-five years of cover-up Response to Mintz's retraction by his original interviewers, Rowland Evans and Robert Novak. A letter to the Washington Post of June, 1992 that was never printed.