Liberty deniers continue to insist that, despite all the evidence, the attack on our ship must have been a mistake. "Israel would not do such a thing to its best friend," they insist. They persist in presenting silly arguments such as "poor memory," "fog of war," and "transmitters were 1KC off frequency for a few seconds." No serious researcher to our knowledge has ever bought into those stories, yet the stories persist.

Recent claims by Liberty deniers, however, has brought a number of insiders out of the closet. Several were revealed in the June 2003 issue of Naval Institute Proceedings, which brought supporting statements from such senior intelligence authorities as Oliver Kirby, Admiral Bobby Inman, former CIA Director Richard Helms, General John Morrison and many others of unimpeachable stature. Yet the deniers continue to deny reality.

We have known for years that communications between the attacking Israeli jets and their headquarters were intercepted as the aircraft approached our ship. The Israeli pilots were clearly told by their controllers to find and quickly sink "the American ship" which was USS Liberty. Those communications were almost simultaneously translated and broadcast from a US Air Force C130 near the scene to an intelligence site at Crete where they were sent to Washington and to other stations as "Critical Intelligence," the fastest and most secure means available. Known as CRITICs, these "Critical Intelligence" reports routinely arrived in the White House, State Department and Pentagon within ten minutes or less.

Thus Liberty's attackers were caught in the act and their treachery was known to the highest levels of the US government even before the attack was completed.

Now, thirty-six years later, people who saw those reports as they occurred find that they can remain silent no longer.

The earliest report, though not the first to reach us, came from US Air Force Captain Richard Block who, as duty watch captain with the USAF 6931st Security Squadron on the Greek island of Crete in the Mediterranean Sea, about 350 miles from the Gaza Strip. Captain Block's presence of mind was fortuitous. Recognizing the intercepted instant-translations between Israeli pilots and their controllers as important, he took immediate action to forward the translations not only to national authorities in Washington at the highest precedence for intelligence material (CRITIC), also to Air Force All Source Intelligence Centers around the world. People who saw these translations were stunned by what they read, yet they were sworn to secrecy by the most stringent security restrictions and for the most part, while horrified, kept the story and their feelings to themselves for many years. Years later, these people started to come forward, as recounted below.

One such analyst was Air Force Captain Stephen Forslund on duty as a US Air Force intelligence analyst at the 544th Air Reconnaissance Technical Wng, Offut Air Force Base, Omaha, Nebraska. Forslund eventually retired from the Air Force after 26 years of service, and told us the story after reading Assault on the Liberty.

A statement by former Air Force analyst James Ronald Gotcher, who saw the same intercepts as a US Air Force Intelligence Analyst with the 6924th Security Squadron, Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam.

Statement by Army Colonel Patrick Lang who saw the intercepted material at an advanced cryptology course at Fort Holabird, Maryland, a few months after the attack.

Ambassador Dwight Porter describes seeing the intercepted materials described by Gotcher, Forslund, Block, Lang and others.

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Jim Ennes and Joe Meadors

USS Liberty

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