A Coverup Most Have Never Heard About: The Attack on The USS Liberty

Written by Nancy Hayes

In the age of government coverups and disinformation, like Anthony Fauci and his gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Lab, Hillary Clinton’s private server and emails, Hunter Biden’s laptop, and, and, and…the list of high-level cover-ups goes on and on. There is one that precedes them all, but most people have never even heard about it: the attack on the USS Liberty.

Recently, the USS Liberty Veterans Association observed the 56th anniversary of the attack. On June 8, 1967, while patrolling in international waters, the USS Liberty was attacked without warning by air and naval forces of the state of Israel. Yes, that’s right! Israel attacked a U.S. ship off the shores of Egypt, killing 34 sailors and injuring 174 more in an apparent false flag event. It was covered up by both sides for almost 20 years before anyone spoke about it or any documents were unclassified. Why? Well, one good reason is that the crew members and those involved were all threatened that if they spoke about the incident, even to their wives, families, or friends, they would be sent to prison, court-martialed, or worse.

In 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) was seeking re-election. The Vietnam War was not going well and he wanted to get involved in the Israel/Arab war—a conflict he thought he could win. So what if an American ship and several hundred lives would be destroyed? After all, Israel could just say that Egypt did it. If it was successful, LBJ would get his war and a much-needed boost to his re-election chances. Problem solved.

The plan was for LBJ to delegate the preparation of the attack to the “303 Committee,” a subgroup of the National Security Council (NSC). The Committee’s function was to examine all covert operations and make judgments on behalf of the president so he wouldn’t look bad if the plan failed. This time, the 303 Committee collaborated with the Israeli leadership on the attack, dubbed “Operation Cyanide.”

The plot was to sacrifice the USS Liberty and all the men aboard through an attack by the Israeli Defenses Forces (IDF). Both sides would then blame Egypt for sinking the ship and LBJ would join forces with Israel to wage nuclear war on Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser. In the end, this plan would, in theory, help ensure LBJ’s 1968 election. Talk about reckless, psychotic behavior.

On that early June morning, in the middle of the “Six Day War,” the USS Liberty, a spy ship with a crew of 294, was stationed off the coast of Sinai in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. The vessel was purposely positioned off the coast of Egypt for this covert operation, virtually defenseless since its mission was to collect intel in international waters. It was moving at a slow 5-10 knots, with an American flag flying high in the wind.

That morning, several unmarked Israeli fighter jets were sent in multiple waves that first buzzed the USS Liberty, conducting surveillance. According to the book If Americans Knew by Alison Weir, the communication between the Israeli pilot and ground control is recorded as such:

Israeli pilot: This is an American ship. Do you still want us to attack?

Ground control: Yes. Follow orders.

Israeli pilot: But sir it’s an American ship. I can see the flag!

Ground control: Never mind; hit it!

These transcripts, of course, would later be “deep-sixed” under the official reasoning that the U.S. government and LBJ did not want to “embarrass Israel.” As if they were the only guilty party.

Then, without any warning, the jets opened fire, blasting rockets at the vessel. With the first pass, a fire ignited from two 55-gallon fuel drums on board. The first bomb took out most of the communication antennas except one. The Israeli Mirage fighter jets whirled around and continued firing, shredding the ship’s American flag. The jets continued attacking the USS Liberty with rockets and cannons, as a cloud of heavy smoke billowed from the damaged ship. Two super Israeli fighters then dropped two napalm canisters each, setting the bridge ablaze. With one functioning antenna left on the port side of the ship, the crew worked relentlessly to repair the cable and connect the antenna and the transmitter.

One crew member, 23-year-old Texan Terry Halbardier, prevented the massacre of all 294 crew members aboard the USS Liberty by grabbing the cable reel, running out onto the flaming and napalm-glazed deck as he was still under attack, and attaching the new cable to the antenna. That was enough for the radioman to send an SOS signal to the nearby Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea.

The Sixth Fleet sent two sets of fighter jets, but both would be recalled by our U.S. Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara. In fact, McNamara ordered a total of 12 jets and 4 tanker aircraft to abort. Not only were the fighter jets recalled, but the Israelis jammed the Liberty’s radio frequency. Before long, the port holes were blown out as the crew scrambled for survival. Amazingly enough, through all the fire and chaos, the crew did work to raise another 13’ by 8’ U.S. flag over the dying ship.

Then came three Israeli motor torpedo boats as those in the engine room prepared for the worst-case scenario. The boats sprayed the ship with a barrage of 40mm, 20mm, and .50-caliber fire and then five or six torpedoes. The USS Liberty was paralyzed as one torpedo left a gaping, 40-foot hole on its side, just below the waterline. As wounded crew members evacuated, throwing lifeboats over the side, some of the rafts caught fire or were rendered useless by Israeli machine gun fire.

Soon after, the U.S. Navy prepared to launch a nuclear attack on Egypt, but after hearing that the USS Liberty was (incredibly) still afloat, called off the strike. The USS Liberty would be sent to Malta instead of nearby Cairo for repairs. Some said LBJ was still hoping the ship would sink before arriving at port.

When the USS Liberty arrived at Malta, a total of 34 dead and 174 injured crew members were taken off the ship. Following the attack, the USS Liberty returned home to Norfolk, VA in two weeks’ time. The crew members were divided from there and shipped off to other assignments. It is said that no two members were posted together. They were warned never to talk about the incident, and they didn’t, at least not over the next 20 years.

Afterward, internal investigations were completed, but the USS Liberty attack was never investigated by Congress. It wasn’t until the next year that the Israeli government would pay over $3 million to the U.S. government for compensation to the families of those killed in the USS Liberty attack.

Then in March 1969, another $3.5 million was paid by Israel for those wounded in the attack. Finally, in December 1980, $6 million would be paid as a final settlement for the damage done to the USS Liberty.

This is a story of sailors who served our country with the highest standards of valor and exemplary service in harm’s way, who fought for our freedom but were treated with utter disrespect by our former President LBJ and our government. Lives were lost. Servicemen paid the ultimate price for our freedom, and the truth was just swept under the rug.

These were the most heroic acts under the most horrific circumstances. In a lame attempt at honoring this bravery, the government awarded some crew members with a Purple Heart, but then told them they were not permitted to say where they received it.

One serviceman, CDR William McGonagle, even received the Congressional Medal of Honor, but not at the White House, and not from President Johnson. Instead, McGonagle received the highest medal of honor at the Washington Navy Yard from the Secretary of the Navy.

Terry Halbardier would receive the Silver Star, but not until May 27th, 2009, almost 42 years after the attack on the USS Liberty. U.S. Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA) stated at the recognition event, “The government has kept this quiet I think for too long, and I felt as my constituent (Halbardier) needed to be recognized for the service he made to his country.”

Several books were published on the attack. ABC’s Nightline even interviewed survivors decades after the incident, but to no avail; the interviews never aired.

The Liberty Veterans Association President Ernie Gallo told The Intercept, “We know that the Navy Court of Inquiry was merely a show,” meant to prove the attack on the USS Liberty was “accidental.”

This was one of the worst attacks in history against a noncombatant U.S. naval vessel, and yet the tragedy remains shrouded in secrecy.

As a side note, it was Admiral John S. McCain, father of U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who was assigned by LBJ to issue a whitewash on the USS Liberty within 10 days of the attack.

Every piece of this story represents total disrespect for human lives and our military. It was and is all just another BIG coverup, like the COVID-19 shot that didn’t work, Hillary Clinton’s private server and emails, Russia, Russia, Russia, or the Biden crime family bribes.

Wake up, people! False flags, disinformation, coverups, whatever you want to call these incidents, the government continues to churn out this garbage as if “We, The People” can’t decipher what happened or do our own homework.

Sadly, not much has changed from June 8, 1967 to 2023, has it? Politicians and those in charge are still selling their souls for money, power, and political office as they continue committing coverups. Whether it was LBJ in 1967 or Biden in 2023, the coverups continue.

Don’t believe me? Whatever happened to Seth Rich? How about Hillary’s Benghazi and the coverup of the sale of guns? What about the biolabs near the border of Ukraine and Russia? Or the collapse of FTX and ties to the Biden campaign? What’s really behind the Ukraine War? Or better yet, what’s up with the $31 million haul to the Bidens from China? Don’t you wonder where all our hard-earned taxpayer money is going? Shouldn’t every American, no matter what political party, want those in power to be free from corruption?

Coverup after coverup after coverup. History will show the games continue to be played by our government.

Did I mention 2020 was the “most secure election in American history?”

On June 8, 2005, the USS Liberty Veteran Association submitted A Report on War Crimes Committed Against the USS Liberty on June 8, 1967, to the Department of Defense per the DoD Law of War Program. The Department of Defense unilaterally waived its obligation under the Department of Defense Law of War Program by refusing to investigate the allegations claimed in the War Crimes Report.