The Liberty Incident

Presidential Positions

Eight US Presidents, three democrat and five republican, have accepted the conclusion that the Liberty incident was a tragic mistake.

They are: Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush (41), William Clinton, George W. Bush (43)

Bush (41) White House Letter

Clinton White House Letter

Bush (43) White House Letter

On June 6, 2002, a full page advertisement appeared on page 11 of the Washington Times. The ad contained an open letter to President George W. Bush, Commander in Chief, White House, Washington, D.C. from Phillip F. Tourney, President of the USS Liberty Veterans Association and requested "...that [the president] commission a presidential panel to finally investigate the attack and cover-up of the USS Liberty, and report the truth to the American people." In early October 2002, the letter was answered on behalf of the President as follows:

Dear Mr. Tourney:

Thank you for your letter to President George W. Bush concerning
USS LIBERTY. I am answering on behalf of the President.

I can certainly understand your motivation in writing. The
People of the United States will forever remain in debt to those
crewmen of USS LIBERTY who sacrificed their lives in the service
of their country. In reference to your letter, the main question
posed to the investigative team was whether the attack by the
Israeli armed forces on USS LIBERTY was deliberate. The Navy
convened a court of inquiry immediately after the event to
review this question and address other concerns. Much of the
hearings and testimonies were classified as they dealt with the
nature of the Navy's electronics and communications technology.
Large portions of this report have subsequently been

Israel accepted responsibility for the attack and made a public
apology for the incident. Additionally, as you already know, the
Government of Israel paid reparations for the death and injuries
suffered by your shipmates on LIBERTY and for the damage to the
ship caused by this tragic and unfortunate incident.

The results of the investigations, and the conciliatory actions
of the Government of Israel, were considered satisfactory to
Administration and Defense officials. At this time, there is no
precedent to reinvestigate this case and no plans have been made
to do so. Please be assured that we have taken measures to
prevent an incident of this tragic nature from occurring in the

Again, thank you for writing to the President.

Director, White House Liaison Office
Office of the Secretary of the Navy