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March 13, 2009
Why did Blair choose Freeman to head up the NIC?
Washington Post writer Thomas Ricks, one smart man, has an idea:
The U.S. military long has been less enamored of Israel than has the U.S. Congress. Navy intelligence types in particular have been wary of Israel since the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty in 1967, which left 34 sailors dead. Historian Michael Oren calls that controversial incident "one of the most painful chapters in the history of America's relationship with the State of Israel."
By the way, I think Ricks may go too far in writing that the military as a whole has been less than enamored of Israel. The army and air force have worked closely with the Israeli Defense Forces. The relationship has been mutually beneficial. Israel has upgraded US defense equipment and shared the high tech advances with the Pentagon. Israel has also, sadly, been used as a proving ground for US military equipment. Israel has offered lessons in strategy and tactics to the Army and Air Force.
Thomas Moorer, Chief of Naval Operations and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was not a supporter of the A-I relationship.
He also believed that the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty was deliberate and covered up by LBJ
He was a conspiracy theorist and frequently disparaged Israel. This was a theme of his life after he retired, in particular, and felt less constrained
Dennis Blair was born in 1947. The Israeli accidental attack on the USS Liberty was in 1967.
The attack was judged to be an accident that occurred during the fog of war. Israel apologized and tried to make amends. But the bitterness lingered and lingers to this day.
Was it possible that Blair had a friend who was injured or killed during that botched operation?
I understand that the columnist Robert Novak's animus towards Israel stemmed, at least in part, from having a good friend who was killed during the attack. He and his writing partner Rowland Evans, spilled a lot of ink, and bile, on this topic.
Rick Moran adds:
Admiral Moorer was also involved in an extraordinary case of spying on President Nixon known as the Moorer-Radford affair. The Joint Chiefs, tired of being left out of the information loop by the Kissinger-Nixon takeover of foreign policy, actually placed a Navy Yeoman (Radford) as an aide to the National Security Council to photograph and even steal top secret documents.
It is rarely mentioned in histories of Watergate because it doesn't fit the narrative of Nixon as paranoid about non-existent threats to the government and the possibility that another young Navy officer - Bob Woodward - was also involved in spying on the White House, in his case for the man he briefed several times a week - Alexander Haig. No one wants to dig up anything untoward about the hero of Watergate. The discovery of Radford's treachery led directly to the formation of "The Plumbers" unit and Nixon's downfall.
The White House allowed Moorer to serve out the remainder of his term and quietly gave Radford a slap on the wrist. They felt that if the country knew of the disloyalty of the military, it would further damage an already damaged military, reeling from Viet Nam.
The Liberty incident was still fresh on the minds of Navy brass at this time and Moorer's spying must be seen in that light - that the Chiefs didn't know what Nixon and Kisinger were up to in the Middle East. It is without a doubt one of the most curious incidents in American history and we still probably don't have the full story.