Because of an editing error, an article yesterday on retired general William C. Westmoreland's libel suit against CBS Inc. said a central issue in the trial is whether home militia troops were dropped from the official U.S. enemy count in Vietnam. They were dropped. The trial issue is whether they were dropped as part of the general's alleged efforts to impose a "ceiling" on enemy troop numbers.
George W. Allen, a longtime analyst for the CIA, strongly endorsed former colleague Samuel A. Adams today, saying that Adams took more seriously than most the CIA motto: "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."
Allen, a witness for CBS in retired general William C. Westmoreland's $120 million libel action against the network, said that Adams, a codefendant in the case, displayed "an unusually high sense of professional integrity" when he helped estimate Vietnam enemy troop figures for the CIA in the late 1960s.
Allen's praise came after Adams had stepped down from more than a week on the witness stand, including almost three grueling days of cross-examination by Westmoreland attorney David M. Dorsen.
"Free at last," CBS lawyer David Boies said to Adams, as both sides concluded their questions. The witness, judge and jury laughed.
Adams, whose theory on how enemy troop strength was underestimated was central to the CBS broadcast, attempted to regain ground with the jury today after questioning by Dorsen occasionally left him confused and making contradictory statements.
For example, Dorsen had asked Adams whether a CIA memorandum that Adams apparently kept for more than 15 years included an estimate of the number of enemy soldiers that had been counted as "political."
Adams replied: "If it does, I don't recall it. Maybe I have it. Maybe it says so. I don't recall anything like that. I don't think that that was in the memorandum. It may have been."
When Boies today presented Adams with a memo believed to be the one that had provoked the confusion, Adams read it and told the jury firmly that it "does not" include the estimate for enemy political workers in Vietnam.
The CBS broadcast,"The Uncounted Enemy: A Vietnam Deception," charged that Westmoreland was part of a conspiracy in 1967 to keep his officers from reporting higher enemy troop data for fear that such numbers would turn more Americans against the war.
Central to the case is the question of why Westmoreland felt that certain enemy troops -- called "self-defense" forces or home militia troops -- were civilians and whether they were dropped from an official enemy count.