The Liberty Incident

House Armed Services Committee Investigation (1991-2)

In June, 1991, on the twenty-fourth anniversary of the Liberty incident, the Liberty Veterans Association held an annual meeting in Washington, D.C. at the Embassy Suites. I attended as the invitee of the then-President, George Golden.

A meeting was arranged between President Golden, Joe Meadors, John Hankowski, Bob Casale, and John Dickman of the LVA and Congressman Nicholas Mavroules, Chair of the House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Investigations. President Golden described the event as "re-opening the investigation of the attack on the Liberty." Golden went on to note, "We left him and his staff two brief cases of items to support our case."

At the request of Congressman Mavroules, Joe Meadors prepared a list of items for investigation. The list was forwarded to Congressman Mavroules by letter dated 1 Jul 1991.

Congressman Mavroules had on his staff an investigator from the General Accounting Office (GAO), one Roy J. Kirk. GAO records establish that Kirk was with the Subcommittee on Investigation from 19 Nov 1990 until 31 Dec 1992 (another document indicates Kirk left 18 Nov 1992. It is believed, but not verified, that the 42 day discrepancy involved leave taken between assignments.)

On 6 Mar 1992, Roy J. Kirk, over his title, "Investigations Staff, Subcommittee on Investigations", on the letterhead of U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Armed Services, wrote to A. Jay Cristol referring to the LVA request for investigation and soliciting views on the items in the Joe Meadors, 1 Jul 1991 letter.

I researched the items and forwarded my views to Roy Kirk. I was invited to Washington and on 29 April 1992 I met with Roy Kirk and Warren Nelson, an administrative assistant to Congressman Mavroules in the Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2120 at 11:00 a.m. We then went to the Congressman's office in the Rayburn House Office Building.

At that time the Clifford Report remained classified. Warren Nelson advised that he had obtained and read same. (The report was declassified on 25 October 1995 as a result of my FOIA appeal.)

We met for over an hour and at the conclusion of the meeting the Congressman stated that the investigation had not developed anything worthy of further action by Congress. He instructed Nelson and Kirk to write a polite letter advising the LVA that the investigation had been concluded. (There is no doubt that this is the "Congress-speak" referred to in the Joe Meadors 2 Nov 1992 website posting.)

There are claims by some conspiracy supporters that there never was a House Armed Services Committee, Investigations Subcommittee investigation in 1991/1992. There seems to be a lack of understanding by some of the difference between an investigation, a hearing, and a report.

The House Armed Services Committee, Investigation Subcommittee did not issue a report other than the letter to Joe Meadors advising the investigation had been concluded. No hearings were conducted. The investigation went on for about ten months from June or July 1991 to 29 April 1992.

The staff received "two brief cases of items" from LVA. In addition to the meeting with LVA members, Kirk contacted Captain Ernest Castle and Commander Maurie Bennett. Castle was the U.S. Naval Attaché in Tel Aviv in 1967, and it was Castle who referred Kirk to me in March 1992--approximately nine months after the investigation began. Commander Bennett was a member of USN 855, the NSA group aboard the Liberty, and was awarded the Silver Star and the Purple Heart for his actions aboard the Liberty. Kirk also obtained the Clark Clifford Report which was completely classified at that time and the NSA 1981 Report in unredacted format. The NSA report remained partially classified at that time. The full extent of the investigation is not known to me. Kirk advised me that he had been actively investigating since July 1991.

Joe Meadors confirmed, "Actually we were routinely in contact with Mavroules and staff--always asking when the investigation [emphasis added; apparently he meant hearing--see below] was going to take place but being told that none had been scheduled."

Meadors also seems not to understand the difference between an investigation and a hearing. When a congressional committee begins an investigation the leg work is assigned to staff investigators. If the investigation uncovers something that committee members want publicized, a public hearing is held in a House or Senate hearing room before the bright lights and TV cameras. This is the theater in which the investigation findings are given public exposure. Thereafter the committee usually issues a printed report which documents its findings and may include a transcript of hearings. If the investigation does not uncover anything, then hearings are not held, and in most instances, a report is not issued.

Meadors confirmed in a website posting on 2 Nov 1998: "In a meeting we asked for with Cong. Nick Mavroules we begged him to hold hearings [emphasis added]....He used Congress-speak to tell us to f*** off. Warmest regards. Joe" Meadors has not made public the "Congress-speak" letter from Congressman Mavroules.

This document contains scans of:

1) Letter from Joe Meadors to Congressman Mavroules, dated 1 Jul 1991.
2) Government Accounting Office letter to A. Jay Cristol, dated 11 Aug 2003.
3) Roy J. Kirk letter to A. Jay Cristol, dated 6 Mar 1992.
4) Text of Joe Meadors' 2 Nov 1998 website postings.