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A. Jay Cristol

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Captain A. Jay Cristol, USN (ret.) “joined the US Navy as an aviation cadet, earning his Navy Wings of Gold in April 1953.”  According to A. Jay Cristol’s biography, “Upon returning to civilian life, Cristol joined the Naval Air Reserve where he qualified as a four-engine Navy transport plane commander. In the 1960s, he flew operational flights during the Cuban Missile Crises and volunteer airlift missions to Vietnam.”  In addition to being a Naval Aviator, A. Jay Cristol became a member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps and served until his retirement in 1988.  He is the author of The Liberty Incident: The 1967 Israeli Attack on the U.S. Navy Spy Ship.


According to the book description of The Liberty Incident: The 1967 Israeli Attack on the U.S. Navy Spy Ship, “Draws on newly declassified documents and high-level interviews with numerous officials from the United States and Israel, including the late prime minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin, that resolve lingering questions  A former naval aviator provides a page-turning, minute-by-minute account of the battering suffered by the U.S. Navy’s intelligence ship, USS Liberty.


On June 8, 1967, at the height of the Six-Day War between Israel and its Arab neighbors, Israeli air and naval forces attacked the USS Liberty, an intelligence-collection ship in the service of Israel’s closest ally, while that vessel steamed in international waters off the Sinai Peninsula. The Israelis killed 34 Americans, wounded 171, and nearly sank the ship. Dozens of theories exist about what happened that day. Official inquiries conducted in both the United States and Israel attributed the event to faulty communications and tragic error, but survivors remain outspoken and not alone in their belief that the Israelis acted deliberately.

The Liberty Incident: The 1967 Attack on the U.S. Navy Spy Ship
A. Jay Cristol  More Info

Federal judge and former naval aviator A. Jay Cristol places the incident in its proper context. The Israeli strike, he argues, can only be understood in light of the Cold War, the outbreak of war in the Middle East, inter-service rivalry within the Israeli Defense Forces, and the chaos of an operational environment. That both the United States and Israel kept much of the data concerning the incident classified for more than ten years served only to fuel the fires of intrigue and charges of conspiracy to cover up the truth, but since the incident significant portions of most of the official inquiries have now been declassified. Cristol draws on these, documents recently obtained by him through the Freedom of Information Act, and extensive oral history interviews to deliver the most comprehensive treatment of the episode that threatened to ruin Israel’s relations with the United States and has served as a nagging source of suspicion for so many years.”

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