The Liberty Incident Revealed

The Definitive Account of the 1967 Israeli Attack on the U.S. Navy Spy Ship
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Published:September 15, 2013
By A Jay Cristol (Author)

The Liberty Incident Revealed is the complete and final story about the Israeli Air Force and Navy attack on the USS Liberty during the Six Day War in June 1967. Cutting through all of the controversy and conspiracy theories about Israel’s deadly attack, Cristol revises his well-regarded book about the event with an expanded and in-depth analysis of all of the sources, including the released tapes of the National Security Agency (NSA) intercepts.

When Cristol’s first book on the subject, The Liberty Incident, was published in 2002, there remained many unanswered questions about Israeli Air Force audio tapes. The NSA intercepts tapes had not yet been released in 2002. Some conspiracy theorists alleged the NSA tapes would prove that the Israeli attack was premeditated. Cristol’s successful Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the NSA, while resulting in the release of those tapes, has been greeted by anti-Israel sources insisting that the NSA tapes are fraudulent and are part of a larger conspiracy to deceive the American public.

After a quarter of a century of intensive research in both Israel and the U.S., researching all relevant archives from NSA, CIA and the State Department, reviewing both formerly classified and open source documents, and interviewing all then-living individuals directly involved in the incident, the factual and documentary record is clear. Cristol maintains that despite the fact that all of the official records and transcripts are now available for review, the truth has proven to be of no interest to those individuals and organizations who are motivated by hidden agendas, wish to keep conspiracy theories alive, or are trying to feed sensational stories to the media. Documenting his findings in six new chapters, Cristol establishes definitively that the Israeli attack was a tragic mistake and presents a convincing argument that will be regarded as the final chapter in the long-simmering debate about this incident.

List Price: $36.95
Member Price: $29.56
Product Details
  • Subject: Naval History
  • Hardback : 416 pages
  • Illustrations: 11 b/w photos; 3 maps
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (September 15, 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 1612513409
  • ISBN-13: 9781612513409
  • Product Dimensions: 6 X 9 in
  • Shipping Weight: 24.57 oz
  • “Cristol uses his law experience and follows precise rules of evidence, as he lays out his conclusions and deconstruction of conspiracy theories, that will be hard to reject. This book is well written, logical in its flow of information, and is recommended for anyone that might find themselves as a member of an investigation board.”—Military Review

  • “This book is very well written with a logical and well-founded thesis. The author acknowledges the arguments of those who feel that the attack was in fact deliberate on the part of the Israelis and refutes their points through studied and well-structured arguments. His inclusion of the copies of the official reports as well as the transcripts of the communication logs between the naval and air assets of the Israeli forces and their command centre provides excellent insight for the reader into the confusion and dysfunction existing within both the US and Israeli militaries. This book provides good value, and it is an excellent read about a side of the incident often overlook in the histories of the Six Day War." —Canadian Naval Review
  • "Cristol's scholarship in investigating the incident will not convince all persons about the reason or lack thereof for the attack, but it is an impressive work of investigation, well worth reading."—The Daybook
  • The Liberty Incident Revealed leaves few stones unturned. Little documentary evidence appears unexamined or unreleased, and there is less reason to believe that it would materially alter the conclusion that the incident was a tragic accident. It is surely the definitive account; one that cannot be ignored and is unlikely to be surpassed.”—International Journal of Maritime History
  • “This is thus both a readable and relevant book.”—The Naval Review
  • “This is the definitive book on the Israeli attack during the Six-Day War…. A superb account.” — Foreign Affairs

    “. . .An exhaustive analysis . . .the author knows more about than anyone else who has written on it.” — Proceedings

    “A painstakingly detailed and footnoted account.” —The Miami Herald

    “The most thorough study to date…Those who are interested in this story will want to read this book.” — Middle East Journal

    “[Cristol’s] research is stunningly complete.” — Middle East Quarterly

Capt. A Jay Cristol, USN (Ret.) JD, PhD, entered the U.S. Navy as an aviation cadet in November 1951. As a naval aviator, he flew day and night from the aircraft carrier Princeton during the Korean conflict. Upon return to civilian life, he joined the Naval Air Reserve where, during the 1960s, he flew volunteer missions to Vietnam. He wears the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, and the Navy Achievement Medal among his more than a dozen military decorations. After eighteen years as a naval aviator, he became a Navy lawyer for another twenty years. In civilian life, he concurrently practiced civil law for twenty-five years. He currently serves as a federal judge and teaches law as an adjunct professor at the University of Miami. Cristol was named a Legal Legend by the Historical Society of South Florida in 2011.

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The Liberty Incident Revealed
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Events and Conferences

Met the Author & Book Signing
8:00pm, Books and Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables, FL Read More
Featured Speaker & Book Signing
11:00am, Miami Book Fair Int’l. – Room 8313 (Bldg. 8, 3rd Floor), Miami Dade College, 300 NE Second... Read More
Guest Speaker
10:30am, Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center, 20400 N.E. 30th Ave., Aventura, FL Read More
Guest Speaker & Book Signing
10:00am, Jacksonville Book Fair, c/o The Jewish Community Alliance, 8505 San Jose Blvd.,... Read More
"The Inside Story" Lecture & Book Signing
6:30pm, Int’l. Spy Museum, 800 F Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. Read More
Guest Speaker
Noon, Ralph J. Bunche Library, U.S. Department of State, 2201 C Street N.W., Washington, DC Read More
Guest Speaker & Book Signing
Noon, “Authors on Deck,” U.S. Navy Memorial, 701 Pennsylvania Ave NW, #123, Washington, DC Read More
Guest Speaker
6:30pm, University Club-Military History Legion, 1135 16th St., N.W., Washington, D.C. Read More
Guest Lecturer & Book Signing
Noon, “Eight Bells Lecture Series,” Naval War College Museum, 686 Cushing Rd., Newport, RI Read More
Guest Lecturer & Book Signing
8:00am, CAMERA, 214 Lincoln St., #415, Allston, MA Read More
"Legion of Honor Bronze Medal" - Award Ceremony
Chapel of the Four Chaplains, 1201 Constitution Ave., The Navy Yard Bldg. 649, Philadelphia, PA Read More

Customer Reviews

2 Reviews
Average Customer Reviews
1.00 Stars
Sorry Jay, Sky King Came out of the blue of the Western Sky – Not the Attacking Israeli Aircraft
Friday, September 27, 2013
By: Joe Meadors
Cristol’s work reads more like a poorly written legal brief than a highly-touted, impeccably-researched work of historical accuracy. Barely 38 words into the opening flyleaf he claims there were 171 wounded during the attack. I can only assume he is not including the 34 who were killed in that number. After decades of researching the attack on our ship you would think he would have learned there were 174 Purple Hearts awarded to the survivors. A small point? Obviously to him and to those who have heaped praises upon his work. Not to those of us who survived the attack and we hope not to those in the USNI community. That same mistake is repeated by the NSA Historian in the NSA 60th Anniversary Book. Then again, the NSA historian isn’t the best source authority when it comes to the USS Liberty. He has the USS Liberty already on station when the Six Day War broke out when, in fact, we didn’t arrive until the fourth day of the war. That NSA historian is cited by Cristol as claiming “the attack was a tragic mistake.” He doesn’t know how many were wounded during the attack, he doesn’t know when we arrived on station and he hasn’t interviewed a single USS Liberty crewman but he does know that “the attack was a tragic mistake.” Another fact missing from Cristol’s work is that among the awards won by the officers and crew of the USS Liberty are the Medal of Honor, two Navy Crosses, eleven Silver Stars, twenty Bronze Stars, nine Navy Commendations, 208 Purple Hearts, 294 Combat Action Ribbons, the Presidential Unit Citation and the National Security Agency Exceptional Service Civilian Award which makes the USS Liberty arguably the most decorated ship in US Navy history for a single event. In his advertising Cristol claims he interviewed every living USS Liberty survivor. A legitimate historian interested in telling the complete story about the attack would have. Cristol did not. I personally invited Cristol to attend a USS Liberty reunion in order to address and interview the crew. He refused. To date not a single crewman has indicated to me that he was interviewed by Cristol and some have told me that interviews Cristol claims to have conducted with them didn’t happen. If he wants to create a complete history of the USS Liberty attack why doesn’t he interview the survivors? Why does he refuse to attend a USS Liberty reunion? On page 1 he tells us that the air attack was initiated when the Mirages dropped out of the west from 10,000 feet and began their strafing run. If Cristol had bothered to interview USS Liberty survivors instead of just claiming he did he would have known that that is not how the attack began. We had just secured from general quarters and were on a westerly course. LtJg Lloyd Painter noticed very high speed contacts coming up our starboard side traveling so low that they were visible on our surface search radar. Thinking that this would be just another circling of our ship as had occurred so many times that morning a number of us (including me) ran up to the Signal Bridge to watch the aircraft. They flew at very low level up our starboard side. When they got a bit ahead of our ship they turned left. Instead of continuing on their anticipated circuit, when they got almost dead ahead of us they turned and began their initial strafing attack. They didn’t initiate their attack from 10,000 feet out of the western sun. They initiated it at low-level out of the east. The author would have known this if he had only interviewed the USS Liberty survivors instead of just claiming that he did. On Page 2 of his book we see another example of Cristol’s stunning research. There he subjects the reader to the myth of the 10 US government investigations claiming that the evidence and testimony submitted during those investigations support the conclusion that there is no evidence the attack was deliberate. Those “investigations” didn’t ask for nor receive any evidence and testimony about the intent of the attackers. They could just as easily have concluded that Mary had a little lamb or the cow jumped over the moon. None of those reports are based on an investigation of the attack on the USS Liberty. The report that comes closest to being an investigation of the attack is the report prepared as a result of the 4 days of testimony taken during the US Navy Court of Inquiry. One glaring omission from that report is the testimony of Lloyd Painter who testified before the court about his witnessing the torpedo boats deliberately machine gunning our life rafts in the water. Painter’s testimony has been removed from the record. Not redacted. Removed. A fact nowhere to be found in Cristol’s work. Dare I mention the “missing” written statements provided to the Court by some 65 USS Liberty crewmen at the request of the President of the Court? Strange that there is nothing about this in Cristol’s “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” account of the attack. Even ADM John McCain who is the convening authority of the court provided a qualified endorsement for the record of the Court. Why Cristol claims the evidence and testimony supports his theory of “mistaken attack” is open to conjecture -- as is his decision to interview few if any of the living USS Liberty survivors all the while allowing the myth that he interviewed all of us to continue unchallenged by anyone except the USS Liberty survivors ourselves. Why Cristol claims his book is “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” when it is not is open to conjecture as well. He opines that we are just “motivated by hidden agendas” and we “wish to keep alive conspiracy theories.” In fact, our agenda has never been hidden. If Cristol had bothered to attend our reunion he would have spoken with countless USS Liberty survivors who would have told him that during the attack: • We were attacked by unmarked aircraft; • Our radios were jammed on both US Navy tactical and international maritime distress frequencies; • Life rafts we had dropped over the side in anticipation of abandoning ship were deliberately destroyed by machine gun fire from the attacking torpedo boats; • Attacking torpedo boats slowly circled the torpedoed and sinking ship while firing upon USS Liberty crewmen who ventured topside to help our wounded shipmates; and, • Two flights of rescue aircraft that had been launched from Sixth Fleet aircraft carriers were ordered recalled while we were still under attack and calling for help. Our efforts are focused on ensuring the attack is completely and publicly investigated by the US government. Nothing more and certainly not less. The investigation we are advocating for will have evidence and testimony given under oath with the penalty of perjury attached. Cristol operates under a far less stringent standard than we do. He has the luxury of claiming he is presenting “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” in a format that doesn’t hold him accountable for anything he says. Given he is a retired US Naval aviator and US Navy JAG officer sworn to protect the US constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic one has to wonder why Cristol has gone to such lengths to destroy his reputation and credibility in the US Navy community by writing what clearly is an apologia for the forces who attacked our ship when all he has to do is support our effort to ensure the attack is subjected to the complete and comprehensive public Congressional investigation that routinely follows an attack of this kind but that has been denied the attack on the USS Liberty. Joe Meadors USS Liberty Survivor Director of Operations, USS Liberty Veterans Association
Invitation to come on our radio show and prove your story
Saturday, May 24, 2014
By: Ronald G. Kukal
The Liberty Veterans Association has a standing offer of ten thousand dollars to prove that there was ever a congressional investigation of this attack. We have had former Senator Adlai Stevenson on the radio show three times now and he has said more then once he could never get an interest from congress to conduct an investigation, and Captain Ward Boston who was the counsel for the Naval Board of Inquiry has already left a statement that he was forced to make the outcome as an accident. He knew it wasn't, and he left a public statement saying so.


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