“Meanwhile, at the United Nations, and in response to Arab complaints that the U.S. and British were supporting Israel in the conflict, United States Ambassador Goldberg announced that the U.S. forces were hundreds of miles from the conflict. At the time the statement was made, this was the case, since the Liberty was just entering the Mediterranean Sea but would ultimately steam to within a few miles of the Sinai Peninsula.
On the night of June 7 Washington time, early morning on June 8, 01:10Z or 3:10 AM local time, the Pentagon issued an order to 6th Fleet headquarters to tell the Liberty to come no closer than 100 nmi (120 mi; 190 km) to Israel, Syria, or the Sinai coast (Oren, p. 263). (pages 5 and Exhibit N, page 58).
According to the Naval Court of Inquiry (p. 23 ff, p. 111 ff) and National Security Agency official history, the order to withdraw was not broadcast on the frequencies that the Liberty crew was monitoring for orders until 15:25 Zulu, hours after the attack, due to a long series of administrative and communications problems. The Navy said a large volume of unrelated high-precedence traffic, including intelligence intercepts related to the conflict, was being handled at the time and it also faulted a shortage of qualified radio men as a contributing factor to the failure to send the withdrawal message to Liberty in time.(p. 111 ff)
During the morning of the attack, early June 8, the ship was overflown by Israeli Air Force (IAF) aircraft including a Nord Noratlas "flying boxcar" and Mirage III jet fighters eight times. At least some of those flybys were from a close range.. At about 5:45 a.m. Sinai time (GMT +2), reports were first received at Israeli Central Coastal Command (CCC) about the Liberty, identified by pilots as a destroyer and the vessel was placed on the plot board using a red marker, indicating an unknown vessel. At 6:03 a.m. that morning, the Nord identified the ship as a U.S. supply ship, though the marker was only changed from the red 'unknown ship' to a green 'neutral ship' at 9 a.m., when CCC was ordered to do so after naval command inquired as to the marker's status. Also around 9 a.m. an Israeli jet reported that a ship north of Arish had opened fire on him after he tried to identify the vessel, resulting in naval command dispatching two destroyers to investigate. These destroyers returned to previous positions at 9:40 a.m. after doubts emerged during debriefing over the pilot's claim of receiving fire. When the Nord landed and its naval observer was debriefed, the ship was further identified as the USS Liberty based on its "GTR-5" markings. Many Liberty crewmen gave testimony that one of the aircraft flew so close to Liberty that its propellers rattled the deck plating of the ship, and the pilots waved to the crew of Liberty, and the crewmen waved back. The ship was removed from CCC's plot board at 11 am, due to its positional information being stale.
At 11:24 a.m., the Central Coastal Command received the first of several reports that Arish on the Sinai coast was being shelled from the sea, and half an hour later sent three torpedo boats to investigate. This was near the Liberty's position.
At 1:41 p.m., the torpedo boats detected a target "20 miles northwest of El Arish and 14 miles off the coast of Bardawil"  on their radar. The Combat Information Center officer on the torpedo boat Division flagship, "Ensign Yifrach Aharon, reported that the target had been detected at a range of 22 miles, that her speed had been tracked for a few minutes, after which he had determined that the target was moving westward at a speed of 30 knots. These data were forwarded to the Fleet Operations Control Center."
The speed of the target was significant because it indicated that the target was a combat vessel. "The Chief of Naval Operations asked the [torpedo boat] Division to double-check their calculations." "A few minutes later, the Division Commander reported that the target, now 17 miles from him, was moving at a speed of 28 knots" on a different heading. "Since the Division was cruising at the same speed as the target, and therefore could not intercept it the Division commander requested that IAF planes be dispatched."
At 1:48 p.m., the Chief of Naval Operations requested dispatch of IAF fighter aircraft to the ship's location. Two Mirage III type aircraft arrived at the ship at about 2:00 p.m. The formation leader, Captain Spector, reported the vessel appeared like some type of non-Israeli warship. Authorization to attack was issued by the chief air controller, Lieutenant Colonel Shmuel Kislev, immediately after a recorded exchange between a command headquarters weapons systems officer, one of the air controllers, and the chief air controller questioning a possible American presence.
 The air and sea attacks
Beginning about 2 p.m., the Liberty was attacked by several IAF aircraft, initially by two Mirage IIIs, employing cannon, rockets and bombs, followed by two Dassault Mysteres carrying napalm. One napalm bomb hit the ship. The leader of the Mirage formation identified the ship as a destroyer, mistaking the off-center fed parabolic antenna on its forecastle for a gun. The fact that the ship had Western markings led IDF Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin to fear that the ship was Soviet; he ordered the planes and a three torpedo boat squadron that had been ordered into the area to withhold fire pending positive identification of the ship, and sent in two helicopters to search for survivors. These radio communications were recorded by Israel. The order also was recorded in the ship's log, although the commander of the torpedo boat squadron stated that he had not received it.
When the commander of torpedo boats could see the Liberty, he immediately realized the ship was not a destroyer or any type of warship capable of 30 knots (56 km/h) speed. He immediately ordered the attack stopped pending better identification "although this was difficult due to the billowing clouds of smoke that enveloped the vessel; only her bow, part of her bridge and the tip of her mast could be discerned." The commander attempted to signal the ship but got a reply asking him to identify himself. He also observed gun fire from the ship. He consulted an Israeli identification guide to Arab fleets and concluded the ship was the Egyptian supply ship El Quseir. Another of his boat captains reached the same conclusion. Based on that identification, the gun fire and what he considered an evasive response to his signal, the commander ordered the attack to proceed.(ibid. p. 17) . . .”
NSA tapes and recent developments
Within an hour of learning that the Liberty had been torpedoed the director of NSA, LTG Marshall S. Carter, sent a message to all intercept sites requesting a special search of all communications that might reflect the attack or reaction. No communications were available. However, one of the airborne platforms, a U.S. Navy EC-121 aircraft that flew near the attacks from 2:30 p.m. to 3:27 p.m., Sinai time (1230 to 1327 Z), had collected voice conversations between two Israeli helicopter pilots and the control tower at Hazor Airfield following the attack on the Liberty.
On July 2, 2003, the National Security Agency released copies of the recordings made by the EC-121 and the resultant translations and summaries. These revelations were elicited as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by Florida bankruptcy judge and retired naval aviator Jay Cristol. Two linguists who were aboard the EC-121 when the recordings were made, however, have claimed separately that at least two additional tapes were made that have been excluded from the NSA releases up to and including a June 8, 2007, release.
English transcripts of the released tapes indicate that Israel still believed it had hit an Egyptian supply ship even after the attack had stopped.   After the attack, the rescue helicopters are heard relaying several urgent requests that the rescuers ask the first survivor pulled out of the water what his nationality is, and discussing whether the survivors from the attacked ship will speak Arabic. 
A summary report of the NSA-translated tapes  indicates that at 1234Z Hatzor air control began directing two Israeli Air Force helicopters to an Egyptian warship, to rescue its crew: "This ship has now been identified as Egyptian."
The site is a pretty credible source of information. But it really doesn’t matter. I’m not
contending with reason but with a religion one of whose central articles of faith is the wrong
if not evil of Israel.
“The theory that the attack on the Liberty was motivated by a desire to conceal the impending Israeli attack on the Golan Heights is not, then, confined to the extremist fringe, but has made headway in important political and academic circles. In the past, refuting it was dependent largely on appeals to common sense, such as that made by Ernest Castle, the former U.S. naval attaché, in an interview with British television:
Let us presume the Israeli high command was... fearful that the United States would learn of what was an evident Israeli plan to take the Golan, or any other plan on the part of the Israelis. Would they say, "my golly, that will irritate the United States, our great friend. We'd better not... let that happen - so let's sink their ship instead"?
Common sense would also dictate that the Israelis, in the process of handily defeating three Arab armies, could have easily sunk a single, lightly armed ship if they had wanted to. In such a case, they would not have attacked the Liberty in broad daylight with clearly marked boats and planes - submarines could have done the job - nor would they have ultimately halted their fire and offered the ship assistance.
But it is no longer necessary to decide the argument on the basis of common sense alone. Like the other claims for Israel's alleged motive in attacking the Liberty, the one linking the assault to the Golan Heights campaign cannot withstand the scrutiny of the newly declassified documents. These confirm that Israel made no attempt to hide its preparations for an offensive against Syria, and that the United States government, relying on regular diplomatic channels, remained fully apprised of them”
[This message has been edited by Huan Yi (06-23-2010 02:55 PM).]