46. Telegram From the Director of the National Security Agency (Carter) to the Joint Chiefs of Staff/Joint Reconnaissance Center1

M/R: The present situation in the Middle East has resulted in NSA declaring a SIGINT readiness Bravo. In order to augment coverage in the area, the diversion of the USS Liberty (USN 855) is considered a necessary course of action in view of the Liberty’s excellent collection, processing and reporting capabilities and her ability to remain on station for extended periods. USNS Valdez will be directed to leave all available ME tech support at Rota, Spain [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] when she makes a scheduled call o/a 24/25 May.

“The diversion of the Liberty will result in the loss [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] for the remainder of the presently scheduled cruise due to terminate 25 Aug 67. However, in view of the potential US involvement in the ME, this must be considered an acceptable loss.”

ADP/224–67. Subj: Diversion of USS Liberty.

Due to present Middle East crisis request USS Liberty be directed to depart Abidjan immediately and proceed at best poss SOA to Rota Spain to pick up tech support material/personnel, thence proceed to OP area off Port Said.2 Tasking and specific areas will be fwd ASAP.

  1. Source: National Security Agency, NSA Archives, Accession No. 45981, U.S.S. Liberty Correspondence and Messages, 1965–1968. Secret. Repeated to CNO, CINCLANT, CINCLANTFLT, COMSERVLANT, COMSERVRON 8, DIRNAVSECGRU, DIRNAVSECGRULANT, NSA REPLANT, ASSTDIRNAVSECGRU, DIRNAVSECGRUEUR, HQ NSAEUR. The following note appears on the telegram:
  2. After approval by the JCS/JRC, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, and the 303 Committee, the JCS/JRC directed movement of the Liberty to the Eastern Mediterranean by way of Rota, Spain, through a message from COMSERVRON 8, 240020Z May 67. (“Report of the JCS Fact Finding Team: USS Liberty Incident, 8 June 1967”; JCS Files, 898/392)