The definitive book about the USS Liberty, ‘Operation Cyanide’ by Peter Hounam, was published in 2003.
Though he mistakenly gives the wrong name for the US Sixth Fleet Flagship, otherwise it is meticulous. Anyone who wants to understand what really went down in that attack should read it
LBJ had arranged with the Israelis via the Deputy Israeli Ambassador to Washington Ephraim ‘Eppie’ Evron (almost certainly the head of station of the Mossad in the US) that he would send the Liberty to sail off the Egyptian coast, and Israel was to attack it, sink it and leave no survivors. Then the US was going to nuke Egypt in ‘retaliation’.
The first thing the Israeli planes hit were the heat-radiating wireless antennas on the deck, with heat-seeking missiles (not normal armaments for the Israeli planes.
They had done up to 13 reconnaissance flights over the ship previously, one at almost masthead height, and the crew of the planes and of the ship waved to each other.
The attacking planes then continued the attack with bombs, napalm, rocket and cannon fire.
Three MTB’s then attacked with 5 torpedoes, one of which struck causing a massive hole above and below the waterline.
The Liberty crew managed to get an antenna unit working, which had been shut down due to malfunctioning, so was not generating heat and thus not destroyed by the first wave of aircraft, and rigged long wires up whilst under fire. They got an SOS out, which was picked up by a number of US Embassies in the region, as well as the Sixth Fleet.
The Sixth Fleet replied, but the attack still continued. However, it was eventually stopped by Israel.
The nuclear armed planes from the Sixth Fleet and a US base in North Africa were recalled, with just three minutes to the targets. That’s it in a nutshell, but read the book.