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USS Liberty

Statement of Ambassador Edward Peck

Former Chief of Mission in Iraq and Deputy Director of
Ronald Reagan’s White House Task Force on Terrorism

US Navy Memorial
June 8, 2007

The Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest decoration for bravery that ournation can bestow, was awarded to the Commanding Officer of the USS Liberty, CaptainWilliam McGonagle.

Three significant aspects of the fully deserved recognition of his heroic actionsare worthy of note. Each of them constitutes additional evidence and compellingindictments of the nature and extent of the cover-up, the shameful efforts to protectrelations with a foreign country at the expense of American military personnel.

First, the Congressional Medal of Honor is always presented at the White Houseby the President. Captain McGonagle received his at the Washington Navy Yard,presented by the Secretary of the Navy. The Chief of Naval Operations, AdmiralMoorer, referred to the hastily arranged ceremony as a ‘back-handed slap’. It is similarin effect to handing it to him in a paper bag in some back alley.

Second, this was the first time in history the Congressional Medal was awardedfor action in the face of an enemy with which the United States was not at war. In fact,Israel, the nation that launched and sustained a two-hour air and sea attack on a US Navyship was considered a friend.

Third, the US has just gone through a long, painful, costly and embarrassing effortto unravel the cover-up of the death by friendly fire of Pat Tillman in Afghanistan.American servicemen will be punished for attempting to conceal the circumstances ofthe accidental killing of a single American soldier by his own comrades. It is totallyunacceptable that even though Israeli servicemen would not receive punishment forcarrying out their orders, orders that resulted in the killing and wounding of more than200 of the Liberty’s crew, our government has steadfastly refused to permit the survivorsof the heaviest attack on a Navy ship since WWII to tell properly constituted officialinvestigators what happened on that fateful day.

This is obsequious, unctuous subservience to the peripheral interests of a foreignnation at the cost of the lives and morale of our own service members and their families.It should no longer be condoned.

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Video: USS Liberty Memorial - June 8, 2009

Interview with Captain Boston, the 1967 Chief Attorney in the Liberty Investigation

Documentary: Dead in the Water

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Additional Resources

Booklets, Flyers, & More on the USS Liberty

An Evidentiary Study of the USS Liberty Attack

Arlington National Cemetery: William Loren McGonagle

Q & A – Commonly Asked Questions about the Attack on the USS Liberty

Findings of the Independent Commission of Inquiry

Affidavit – Counsel to the U.S. Navy Court of Inquiry’s investigation

Book – Assault on the Liberty

Book – Body of Secrets : Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency

Documentary – Dead in the Water


USS Liberty Memorial Website

Honor Liberty Veterans

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