Opening scene: The spymaster liked his mistresses as “modern” as he wanted to make his 60’s country. In the apartment of his favorite lover, a very tense Salah Nasr is half dressed, heatedly talking on the phone with his Soviet counterparts. Hurling his shoe through a closed window, he vehemently punctuates Egypt’s urgent desire to push not only “the envelope,” but their target – what his psyops calls “the Zionist entity” -- into the sea, once and for all. The underwater cable crackles with static that is not so unusual for the times. But alert to all espionage potentials, Soviet intelligence on the far end naturally wonders if their seemingly secure phone line has been compromised.
Cut to a “Guppy” submarine in international waters off the NorthernSinaiCoast. Frogmen just bugged the undersea cable. NSA cryptographer Lt.-Commander Schleicher rapidly decodes the crucial conversation in case the US needs to take immediate retaliatory measures on Cairo, conventional or perhaps, unthinkably, nuclear… Little do they realize that they and the topside USS Liberty are sitting ducks slated for human sacrifice in a draconian plan to blow the Soviets all the way back to Moscow leaving a clear path to Middle East oil for the West – an ill-fated Operation Cyanide.
Cut to a clandestine meeting in the dark labyrinths of WashingtonDC. An insider military/intelligence faction argues among themselves with a Mossad agent over what to do next and what they CAN tell the President and maintain deniability… Meanwhile, the USS Liberty is locked in the gun sights of a power trap of competing agendas, target of a Goliath international power struggle. The result is more than a very embarrassing truth. A murderous air and sea attack ensues that leaves the sitting duck Liberty a floating bloodbath, dead in the water.
It actually happened, at least something like that. Salah Nasr headed Egypt's General Intelligence Directorate from the late 1950s until 1967, when he was arrested and tried after the Six-Day War. Shortly after the womanizer’s death, his mistress published her memoirs revealing intimate details of how he exerted significant control on Egyptian President Gamal Abdel-Nasser by throwing in his path real and imagined coups, assassination and terrorist plots all of which he was responsible for foiling.
According to Arab rhetoric, Israel had no right to exist. Utterly destroying Israel and "reversing the results of 1948" was the central goal. Prestige and leadership of the Arab world were based on aggressive confrontation of Israel. In the Six-Day War, Israel responded decisively to the imminent threat in a war with Egypt, Jordan and Syria.
In 1967 it sure wasn’t the Summer of Love in the Middle East. That June the USS Liberty, the world’s most advanced NSA spy ship, was viciously attacked and nearly sunk by Israeli firepower during the Six Day War. Was it Israel’s “fault” or was there some collusion with US intelligence denied for political purposes?
The Cold War was at its height and the US wanted the Soviets out of the Middle East in the absolute worst way – perhaps even enough to risk WWIII. This little known event is in the same class of Covert Actions as the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion and Gulf of Tonkin Incident which also took place in the 1960s decade.
Had it been revealed, OPERATION CYANIDE meant certain political suicide for the Johnson Administration. The veil of absolute secrecy still conceals the betrayal of USS Liberty’s military and intelligence personnel, who were silenced for decades in the name of national security. Only the most valorous acts of courage saved the remaining crew and the ship from disappearing into the Deep with all her secrets including the newly deployed Moon Bounce Antenna.
But they did not die, despite the fact that air support was withdrawn. Furthermore, a US submarine also conducting espionage surveillance in the same area, briefly surfaced to periscope depth to catch photos of torpedo damage. The battle sounds were so loud that the submariners thought depth charges were being deployed against them.
Questions that last a lifetime remained for the surviving crew of Liberty after the needless deaths of 34 of the crew and over 170 seriously wounded. The courageous Captain had to tuck his own guts back in after the bridge of the ship was blown up, while he continued to man the Conn for a stunning 17 hours that the Liberty was literally “dead in the water.”
The BBC and other media have occasionally covered the story, but recently new disclosures and revelations have expanded the story. No dramatization has ever been done, because both US and Israeli governments have covered up the truth with the “plausible deniability” that the attack was a case of “mistaken identity”. Now, many influential government and military personnel say it absolutely isn’t so. We have the facts and the story wants to be told so the world knows what happened and what horrible actions nearly ensued.