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Ex-official: Congress, media forced haste on Viet figures

Pressure from Congress and the media forced the military to release enemy strength estimates during the Vietnam war at a time when reliable information was hard to come by, former Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Nitze testified Tuesday at the trial of retired Gen. William Westmoreland's $120 million libel suit against CBS.

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Mr. Nitze said he tried to warn the show's producer, George Crile, in 1981 that the broadcast's premise was wrong and that General Westmoreland would not have tried to hide enemy strength. On cross-examination, Nitze said he had himself harbored doubts about the enemy strength figures emanating from Westmoreland's Saigon command - but in his case, at least in 1965 and '66, he believed the Americans were overestimating the enemy.

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