The Liberty Incident

Central Intelligence Agency Position

On 19 Sept 1977, the Director of Central Intelligence appeared on the ABC television program Good Morning America and stated it was the considered opinion of the CIA that the Israeli government had no knowledge of the USS Liberty prior to the attack. After being broadcast to about twenty million viewers, the CIA immediately classified their transcript of the interview and did not declassify it until 28 Jan 1985.

On 27 Feb 1978, the Director of Central Intelligence responded by letter to five questions put to the agency by Senator James Abourezk. In response to question 5:

Finally, could I have your judgment and that of the Agency you head, based on information acquired by the Agency from all sources, that the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty was deliberate or an honest mistake?

Admiral Stansfield Turner, Director of Central Intelligence, responded:

It remains our best judgment that the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty was not made in malice toward the United States and was a mistake.


Download Letter from Director Turner to Senator Abourezk and Transcript from 19 Sept 1977 ABC television program "Good Morning America".
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