ABC Evening News for Monday, Jun 12, 1972
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(Studio) Nixon administration has stated goal to eliminate credibility gap about US actions in Vietnam. House subcommittee investigates case where General went beyond orders.
REPORTER: Howard K. Smith
(Capitol Hill) General John Lavelle accused of ordering pilots to strike unauthorized targets in North Vietnam. Lavelle says he made liberal interpretation of official rules of engagement between November and February because of enemy build-up north of DMZ. Air Force Chief of Staff John Ryan, who relieved Lavelle in April, says investigation revealed 28 missions in all. Pilots say their falsified reports prompted by General Lavelle. [LAVELLE - says he ordered strikes against air defense targets where build-up had increased tremendously in preparation for what became invasion. Targets hit were threats to United States pilots.] Lavelle was relieved and demoted for doing what Nixon administration ordered a few weeks later.
REPORTER: Bill Zimmerman
(State Department) Nixon administration did not order bombing for fear it would sabotage peking summit. North Vietnam now say early Lavelle bombing precipitated offensive on South Vietnam. North Vietnam negotiator at Paris Peace Talks Xuan Thuy carries new instructions from Hanoi.
REPORTER: Ted Koppel