"Three Cups of Tea" author lies, 60 Minutes investigation 

Greg Mortenson, philanthropist and author of the bestseller Three Cups of Tea, is under fire after a CBS' 60 minutes investigation charged that he is using his foundation as “ a personal ATM” and that a number of his personal stories regarding his journey in Afghanistan and Pakistan were false.

What makes that alarming is that Mortenson had the ear of  Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen and top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David H. Petraeus.

His non-profit foundation Central Asia Institute, which builds schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan, has helped educate hundreds of young girls who otherwise would have no opportunity to learn. His book became a must- read for many U.S. troops heading into the region.

Petraeus' glowing recommendation of Mortenson’s book to a group of reporters a few years ago convinced me to buy it.  I also remember Adm. Mullen’s private meeting at the Pentagon with Mortenson and how it gave the senior defense chief important insight regarding the people of Afghanistan and the importance of education in the ongoing war.

Whatever the truth of the allegations against Mortenson, the book was an excellent read. If he lied about his experiences, that would be a betrayal of his readers. But the message that education, particularly for young girls in the region, is necessary to effect any positive change in Afghanistan is still valid and should not suffer even if Mortenson did not tell the whole truth.

It's unfortunate that Mortenson's lies may harm the very necessary work that so many wonderful, dedicated people have accomplished for young girls  in a land forgotten by war and isolation.

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Sara A. Carter

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