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In Recognition Of Admiral Thomas H. Moorer

Rep. John Conyers Jr.

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Mr. Speaker, on February 5 of this year, a legendary American naval hero passed away in Bethesda, Maryland. Admiral Thomas H. Moorer epitomized the finest qualities of dedication and national service. His distinguished naval career spanned 41 years, including service as a naval aviator, as one of the first pilots off the ground during the attack on Pearl Harbor, as a decorated hero of numerous combat missions in the Southwest Pacific and the Battle of Midway, as Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet, as commander of NATO's U.S. Atlantic Command and the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, becoming the only officer in the Navy's history to command both our Atlantic and Pacific Fleets, as Chief of Naval Operations, as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and as a tireless advocate for American veterans. Admiral Moorer was instrumental in establishing the United States Navy Memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue. In numerous appearances before Congressional Committees, Admiral Moorer provided valuable testimony on a variety of national security concerns.

Capping this extraordinary career, Admiral Moorer made his final appearance on Capitol Hill on October 22, 2003, as Chairman of the Independent Commission of Inquiry into the 1967 attack on the USS Liberty. It is a privilege for me to introduce the Findings of the Independent Commission of Inquiry Into the Israeli Attack on the USS Liberty into the Congressional Record.

Findings of the Independent Commission of Inquiry Into the Israeli

We, the undersigned, having undertaken an independent investigation of Israel's attack on the USS Liberty, including eyewitness testimony from surviving crewmembers, a review of naval and other official records, an examination of official statements by the Israeli and American governments, a study of the conclusions of all previous official inquiries, and a consideration of important new evidence and recent statements from individuals having direct knowledge of the attack or the cover up, hereby find the following: 1. That on June 8, 1967, after eight hours of aerial surveillance, Israel launched a two-hour air and naval attack against the USS Liberty, the world's most sophisticated intelligence ship, inflicting 34 dead and 172 wounded American servicemen (a casualty rate of seventy percent, in a crew of 294); 2. That the Israeli air attack lasted approximately 25 minutes, during which time unmarked Israeli aircraft dropped napalm canisters on the Liberty's bridge, and fired 30mm cannons and rockets into our ship, causing 821 holes, more than 100 of which were rocket-size; survivors estimate 30 or more sorties were flown over the ship by a minimum of 12 attacking Israeli planes which were jamming all five American emergency radio channels; 3. That the torpedo boat attack involved not only the firing of torpedoes, but the machine-gunning of the Liberty's firefighters and stretcher-bearers as they struggled to save their ship and crew; the Israeli torpedo boats later returned to machine-gun at close range three of the Liberty's life rafts that had been lowered into the water by survivors to rescue the most seriously wounded; 4. That there is compelling evidence that Israel's attack was a deliberate attempt to destroy an American ship and kill her entire crew; evidence of such intent is supported by statements from Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Undersecretary of State George Ball, former CIA director Richard Helms, former NSA directors Lieutenant General William Odom, USA (Ret.), Admiral Bobby Ray Inman, USN (Ret.), and Marshal Carter; former NSA deputy directors Oliver Kirby and Major General John Morrison, USAF (Ret.); and former Ambassador Dwight Porter, U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon in 1967; 5. That in attacking the USS Liberty, Israel committed acts of murder against American servicemen and an act of war against the United States; 6. That fearing conflict with Israel, the White House deliberately prevented the U.S. Navy from coming to the defense of the Liberty by recalling Sixth Fleet military rescue support while the ship was under attack; evidence of the recall of rescue aircraft is supported by statements of Captain Joe Tully, Commanding Officer of the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga, and Rear Admiral Lawrence Geis, the Sixth Fleet carrier division commander, at the time of the attack; never before in American naval history has a rescue mission been cancelled when an American ship was under attack; 7. That although the Liberty was saved from almost certain destruction through the heroic efforts of the ship's Captain, William L. McGonagle (MOH), and his brave crew, surviving crewmembers were later threatened with ``court-martial, imprisonment or worse'' if they exposed the truth; and were abandoned by their own government; 8. That due to the influence of Israel's powerful supporters in the United States, the White House deliberately covered up the facts of this attack from the American people; 9. That due to continuing pressure by the pro-Israel lobby in the United States, this attack remains the only serious naval incident that has never been thoroughly investigated by Congress; to this day, no surviving crewmember has been permitted to officially and publicly testify about the attack; 10. That there has been an official cover-up without precedent in American naval history; the existence of such a cover-up is now supported by statements of Rear Admiral Merlin Staring, USN (Ret.), former Judge Advocate General of the Navy; and Captain Ward Boston, USN, (Ret.), the chief counsel to the Navy's 1967 Court of Inquiry of the Liberty attack; 11. That the truth about Israel's attack and subsequent White House cover-up continues to be officially concealed from the American people to the present day and is a national disgrace; 12. That a danger to our national security exists whenever our elected officials are willing to subordinate American interests to those of any foreign nation, and specifically are unwilling to challenge Israel's interests when they conflict with American interests; this policy, evidenced by the failure to defend the USS Liberty and the subsequent official cover-up of the Israeli attack, endangers the safety of Americans and the security of the United States. Whereupon, we, the undersigned, in order to fulfill our duty to the brave crew of the USS Liberty and to all Americans who are asked to serve in our Armed Forces, hereby call upon the Department of the Navy, the Congress of the United States and the American people to immediately take the following actions: First, That a new Court of Inquiry be convened by the Department of the Navy, operating with Congressional oversight, to take public testimony from surviving crewmembers; and to thoroughly investigate the circumstances of the attack on the USS Liberty, with full cooperation from the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency and the military intelligence services, and to determine Israel's possible motive in launching said attack on a U.S. naval vessel; Second, That every appropriate committee of the Congress of the United States investigate the actions of the White House and Defense Department that prevented the rescue of the USS Liberty, thereafter threatened her surviving officers and men if they exposed the truth, and covered up the true circumstances of the attack from the American people; and Third, That the eighth day of June of every year be proclaimed to be hereafter known as USS Liberty Remembrance Day, in order to commemorate the Liberty's heroic crew; and to educate the American people of the danger to our national security inherent in any passionate attachment of our elected officials for any foreign nation.