New documents released this week by America’s National Security Agency support Israel’s version of a long-festering controversy between the two countries: Israel’s sinking of an American spy ship, the USS Liberty, off the coast of Gaza during the 1967 Six-Day War
Israel has always said it had no idea the ship was American, but conspiracy theorists and anti-Israel propagandists still claim Israel sank the ship in the full knowledge that it was American.
The documents, originally defined as top secret, were made public by Florida Judge Jay Cristol, who has been investigating the Liberty incident for years and published a book on the subject last year. On Monday, the NSA gave him a transcript of conversations held by two Israeli Air Force helicopter pilots who were hovering over theLiberty as it was sinking, and these tapes confirm Israel’s claim that the sinking of the ship, which killed 34 American servicemen and wounded 171, was a tragic error.
“It’s the last piece of intelligence that remained classified, and every rational person that will read it will understand that there is no truth in these conspiracy theories against Israel,” Cristol said Tuesday. But he added: “Those who hate Israel, who hate Jews, and those who believe in conspiracy will not be convinced by anything.”
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