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Declassified CIA missives shed light on opening of Six Day War


Classified presidential daily briefs from the 1960s reveal what US knew the first 2 days of Six Day War; ‘Arab counterclaims of 158 Israeli planes destroyed seem grossly exaggerated’.

“Since early this morning, fierce fighting is taking place between Egyptian armored forces moving towards Israel and our forces who have set out to stop them.” This was an IDF spokesman’s announcement at the opening of the Six-Day War.

Now, almost 50 years after the war, CIA documents showing what initial information the US received on the war were revealed for the first time.

The CIA published about 2,500 classified documents, dating from the time of Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson in the sixties. The documents describe among other things the development of the Vietnam War and the response to the Cuban missile as well as the Six Day War, from the American point of view.

On June 5, the opening day of the war, a daily briefing was transferred that was classified as “top secret.” It reads as follows: “Hostilities began early this morning. Both sides report heavy fighting in the air and between armored forces along the Israeli border with Egypt. Israeli planes raided airfields in Cairo and other areas beginning at about 8am local time (2am Washington time).

“Cairo has just been informed that at least five of its airfields in Sinai and the Canal area have suddenly become ‘unserviceable.’ Israel’s war plans had put high priority on quick action against the Egyptian Air Force because of the

threat to its own more vulnerable airfields and vital centers.

“Reports are still fragmentary, but the signs point to this as an Israeli initiative. Over the weekend it became

apparent that Israeli leaders were becoming increasingly convinced that time was running against them.


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