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Obituary

5/19/2006 08:00:00 PM Eastern

CBS News journalist and author George Crile III, 61, died May 15 of pancreatic cancer.

Though an accomplished news producer, he gained notoriety for “The Uncounted Enemy: A Vietnam Deception” for CBS Reports, alleging a conspiracy of undercounting Vietcong troops. General Westmoreland, who was interviewed, sued CBS News and correspondent Mike Wallace for libel but withdrew the suit during trial in 1984.

Crile's 2003 bestseller CharlieWilson's War began as a 1988 60 Minutes profile of the Texas congressman who reportedly manipulated Congress and the CIA into arming Afghan tribes fighting the Soviets. The U.S. unknowingly financed the war, the report suggested, and laid the foundation for Islamic militancy. Tom Hanks purchased rights to turn the book into a film, which is in preproduction.

Crile twice received the Overseas Press Club Edward R. Murrow Award, and his documentary The Battle for South Africa garnered Peabody and Emmy Awards.

He joined CBS News in 1976 and produced the documentary The CIA's Secret Army. In 1985, he became a 60 Minutes producer and later moved to 60 Minutes II.

The Cleveland native also served as a Pentagon correspondent for Ridder Newspapers and as Washington editor of Harper's magazine.

Crile is survived by his wife, Susan Lyne, president of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia; four daughters; and two sisters.

 

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