Snowden Leaked NSA USS Liberty Documents and We Americans Remember Captain McGonagale

Snowden Leaked NSA USS Liberty Documents and We Americans Remember Captain McGonagale
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In a classified document from the NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY CENTRAL SECURITY SERVICE, leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden regarding the USS LIBERTY


We learn a few new FACTS regarding the USS Liberty’s activities “during the mission” immediately preceding The Six Day War through Israel’s attack upon America’s then premier surveillance ship on 8 June 1967

By Eileen Fleming

On USS Liberty Remembrance Day 2017, I was one of many who paid their respects at the gravesite of the Skipper of the USS Liberty and Medal of Honor recipient Captain William McGonagle, who on 9 April 1999 was buried in Section 34 at Arlington National Cemetery, on a hill close to six of the 34 crewmen who were killed by Israel on 8 June 1967. 

The USS Liberty was commissioned in May 1945 as a victory ship and later converted into a (TRS) technical research ship in December 1964.

The Liberty measured 455 feet long and had a maximum speed of 18 knots.

Captain William L. McGonagale took command of the USS Liberty in 1966.

During the Six Day War, Captain McGonagale was the man responsible for 9 officers who were in charge of 151 enlisted men and 6 more officers in charge of 128 enlisted men from the Naval Security Group.

On 8 June 1967, while sailing in international waters Israel relentlessly attacked the USS Liberty with jets, helicopters, napalm, bullets, bombs, and torpedoes killing 34 of Captain McGonagale’s men and twenty-five of them were from the SIGINT unit.

Signals intelligence (SIGINT) is intelligence gathering by interception of signals, whether communications between people (communications intelligence—abbreviated to COMINT) or from electronic signals not directly used in communication (electronic intelligence—abbreviated to ELINT).

Captain McGonagle was severely wounded during the initial air attack and although the bridge sustained heavy damage he remained at his post until help arrived over 17 hours later.

At Arlington Cemetery on USS Liberty Remembrance Day in 1997, Captain McGonagle opened the floodgates when he told the world:

I think it’s about time that the state of Israel and the United States Government provide the crew members of the Liberty and the rest of the American people the facts of what happened, and why the Liberty was attacked 30 years ago today.

USS Liberty Veteran Ken Ecker was not able to attend this June 8ths USS Liberty Remembrance Day at Arlington National Cemetery; but he wrote:

The best memory of Capt. McGonagle I have is the day I left the USS Liberty after the attack.

I had been airlifted to the USS America for medical treatment and then 10-12 days later rejoined the Liberty in Malta. Three or 4 days later I was being transferred to Norfolk for re-assignment. While leaving the ship with a group of other survivors Capt. McGonagle was on the quarterdeck saying goodbye to us.

As customary I started to salute the Capt. when he said, “No, I want to salute you and thank you for your service”.

It is quite unusual for an officer to salute an enlisted man but Capt. McGonagle always thanked his crew for their efforts. He never took credit for his heroic efforts that saved our ship and our lives.

I took a secrecy oath for work conducted in the Navy and even at this late date don’t want to risk breaking that; but I never tire of speaking of the terrible events of June 8, 1967.

Even 50 years after the event it is very fresh in my mind.

I was an 18 year old CTSN/Communications Technician Seaman on the main deck at the fantail-back of the ship when I heard a loud noise and looked forward and saw a jet coming toward the bow with guns firing.

After being warned not to discuss the attack by Naval Security with family or especially the press I kept everything inside for about 15 years.

My wife knew that I had been wounded aboard the Liberty but none of the details. One evening after a bit too much to drink I finally opened up with her and talked non-stop for about 4-5 hours.

The full truth needs to come out about the attack. Israel had observation planes over the ship for 5-6 hours on a clear, sunny day with the American flag flying.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind they knew who we were and because of the nature of our ship-intelligence gathering-they deliberately attacked us with the intention of sinking us.

I want the American people to know that President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara recalled American aircraft twice that were launched to our aid before the torpedo attack that killed 24 American sailors.

After the attack the US government accepted Israeli apology for an “accidental” attack. No complete inquiry has ever been conducted by the Navy or government into the attack.

Regarding the photos of me and the helmet I wore during the attack on the USS Liberty. Needless to say if not for that helmet I wouldn’t be here today. 

The photo taken the day after the attack as I waited to be airlifted to the USS America for the 1st of 3 surgeries I had for my wounds you should know my t-shirt isn’t dirty, that is blood from my wounds.

A day doesn’t go by that I don’t think of my friends who were killed that awful day….


Under “Miscellaneous” in this classified document from the NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY CENTRAL SECURITY SERVICE, leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden regarding the USS LIBERTY we learn:

  1. The fact that the intelligence requirements took on a sense of urgency in late May-early June 1967.

  2. The fact that the U.S.S. Liberty was under the management of NSA and control of DIRNSA [Director of National Security Agency].

  3. The fact that NSA actions to improve SIGINT collection, processing, and reporting in the weeks before the Six Day War included requesting the Liberty’s deployment on 23 May 1967.

  4. The fact that the SIGINT unit USN-855 was on board the U.S.S. Liberty. ) The fact that USN-855 had the following equipment: full duplex radiotelephone circuit, a secure one-channel moon-relay system, technical research ship special communications system (TRSSCOMM), and a receive-only terminal.

  5. [AFTER Israel’s brutal attack the USS Liberty was then ordered to limp to Malta for repairs]  The USS Davis, Massey and Papago escorted the Liberty to Malta and “trailed in Liberty’s wake to recover papers. By 19 June 1967, all classified matter (including 168 large canvas bags) had been stowed under guard in a secure space aboard the Liberty.”

  6. The fact that Dr. Tordella discussed Liberty’s cover story with the Director, Naval Security Group. They agreed that on questions concerning civilians, the first response should be that they were “DoD communications technicians.” A second response, if needed, is that they were communications security technicians assisting the USN in its operation of the Liberty.

  7. Information that would show the use of the Hebrew transliteration system that is used at NSA remains classified…


A few non-classified essential facts that the NSA, Snowden and most Americans are unaware of include:

“We Americans and the USS Liberty” will soon be a DVD and book and is already a grassroots movement seeking to establish every June 8 to be known as USS Liberty Remembrance Day.

“We Americans” are determined to seek and tell the truth about 8 June 1967 and the hellacious aftermath due to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s failure to support the troops by setting the precedent for a 50 year USA Government Cover-up and obstruction of justice case.





 Eileen Fleming is TADN’s volunteer Health Reporter and Senior Non-Arab Correspondent 

Fleming produced the UNCENSORED “30 Minutes with Vanunu” Mordechai, Israel’s nuclear whistleblower

On 8 June 2017, Eileen Fleming begins taping “This American and the USS LIBERTY Documentary”

Contact her HERE


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This post has been viewed 20142 times.

Eileen Fleming

Senior Non-Arab Correspondent for TADN at The Arab Daily News
Senior Non-Arab Correspondent for The Arab Daily News
Producer "30 Minutes with Vanunu" who founded in response to her first of 8 trips to both sides of The Wall in Palestine Israel.
In 2012, Eileen ran for US House of Representatives District 5, in Fl.
Read her FREE eBooks and more at:
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