Liberty Incident an Attack on essay

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Important Quotes about the Incident number of American officials, including important government figures, and the survivors have commented on the U.S.S. Liberty incident during their submission to the official inquiries as well as various publications / books that have appeared in press or on the Internet over the years. For example, Dean Rusk, the U.S. Secretary of State, commenting on the incident in his memoir observes: "I was never satisfied with the Israeli explanation. Their sustained attack to disable and sink Liberty precluded an assault by accident or some trigger-happy local commander... I didn't believe them then, and I don't believe them to this day. The attack was outrageous." (Rusk, 1990, p. 338)

Similarly, Richard Helms -- the CIA Director at the time wrote, "...few in Washington could believe that the ship had not been identified as an American naval vessel... I have yet to understand why it was felt necessary to attack this ship or who ordered the attack." (Helms, 2003, p.300) Capt. William McGonagle, the commander of USS Liberty whose brave efforts in maneuvering the stricken ship to safety while seriously wounded almost certainly saved the lives of his surviving crew was awarded the Medal of Honor-but even his heroic feat was hushed up by Washington and instead of being awarded the medal in a White House ceremony (as is the tradition) he was given the Medal of Honor virtually in secret at the Washington Naval Yard.

Unlike, Capt. McGonagle, not all witnesses of the incident have kept quiet. James Ennes Jr., a lieutenant on the bridge of Liberty on the day of the attack, wrote a book about the incident after his retirement from the Navy. He believes that the attack by Israel on Liberty was deliberate and "a war crime" and dubs the Israeli version of the incident as completely untrue. He writes in his book that there was no way that the attacking Israeli aircraft and the torpedo boats could not have identified the ship as American -- it was clearly marked; flew the American flag and identified themselves. "They did not stop firing after seeing our flag as they claim, but continued to fire for another 40 minutes. The attack lasted 75 minutes and was not brief or accidental as Israel claims. We did not attempt to hide or escape when detected, as Israeli has charged." Ennes believes that a possible reason for the Israeli attack was the fact that its army was busy executing 150 Egyptian prisoners in cold-blood at the El-Arish airport when the U.S.S. Liberty was only 13 miles away -- it did not want its crime to be monitored by an intelligence ship. Ennes also condemns the U.S. government from refusing to investigate the alleged "war crime" by Israel despite repeated requests from Liberty survivors (Ennes, 1980)


The Clark Clifford Report." (1967). The Liberty Incident. Retrieved on March 14, 2009 at

Ennes, James Jr. (1980). Assault on the Liberty. Random House, New York

Gerhard, William D. And Millington, Henry W. (1981). "Attack on a Sigint Collector: the U.S.S. Liberty." National Security Agency / Central Security Service. Retrieved on March 14, 2009 at

Helms, Richard. (2003). A Look Over My Shoulder: A Life in the Central Intelligence Agency. Random House, New York

Rusk, Dean. (1990). As I Saw it. W.W. Norton, New York

Yarushalmi Report." (1967). Israel Defense Forces: Preliminary Inquiry. Retrieved on March 14, 2009 at

Although airborne collection of electronic data was also possible and was being done through sorties by special C-130 and EC-121 aircraft, sustained and more economical surveillance was only possible through ships.

USS Liberty, commissioned in May 1945 as a "victory" ship, was later (in 1964) converted into a technical research ship

U.A.R. (United Arab Republic) was a union between Egypt and Syria which began in 1958; Syria seceded from the union in 1961 but Egypt continued to retain the official name of UAR until 1971.

William McGonagle did not comment on the Liberty incident until his death in 1999 possibly due to the fact that crew members of USS Liberty were threatened with court martial if they ever "breathed a word of the episode to anyone"…[continue]

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