Project Censored 2005 Describes censorship
of the Moorer Commission Report on the attack on USS Liberty

By Alison Weir, PROJECT CENSORED 2005

USS Liberty pix

[On February 9, 2005] Admiral Thomas Moorer, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, passed away. For many years Moorer, a four-star admiral and World War II hero, had strongly condemned Israel's 1967 attack on the USS Liberty1, a virtually unarmed U.S. Navy intelligence ship. Israeli forces had killed 34 American serivcemen and injujred 174; stretcher-bearers were machinegunned and lifeboats were shot out of the water. In addition, Moorer had been outraged at the U.S. government's abandonment of this crew. Following the attack, crew members, surrounded by blood and body parts, had been ordered by the government not to speak to anyone about what had just been done to them and were dispersed to new postings around the world. One critically injured crewman who had been evacuated to a hospital in Germany woke up to find military policemen on either side of him and an identity band on his wrist with someone else's name on it.2

Moorer had long called for an investigation of this. [In 2003], in fact, he had chaired an independent commission on this incident, reading a report on Capitol Hill that said, among other things: "Israel committed acts of murder against American servicemen and an act of war against the United States.3" Another admiral--who had been the head of the Navy's legal branch -- read a just-released affidavit by the officer who had been the chief attorney for the quickie Naval court of inquiry set up by Admiral John S. McCain, Jr. (Senator John McCain's father) to look into the attack. This affidavit revealed that there had been a cover-up at the presidential level--that President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara had ordered the court to find, despite all evidence to the contrary, Israel innocent of culpability.

The story of the commission's unprecedented findings died after one day of coverage. Despite an excellent Associated Press (AP) report on it, a search of 300 newspapers only turned up 10 that had printed it.

A few months later Moorer died. The first quick AP obituary contained one sentence about the Israeli attack. It was minimal, but present. Within a few hours a longer obit came out, containing a great deal of additional information about Moorer. But the sentence on the Israeli attack had been taken out.

I have phoned AP many times, asking them why information on the USS Liberty was removed from the obituary and who removed it. Each time, the person I reached agreed that the Liberty information was important and told me they could get back to me. I'm still waiting.

1. For more information about the attack on the Liberty, visit, and

2. Assault on the Liberty (Random House, 1980; Ballantine, 1986; Reintree Press 2002, 2004, 2007).


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Jim Ennes and Joe Meadors

USS Liberty