CBS Washington bureau chief Christopher Isham isn't just denying reports he revealed a confidential source's identity to the FBI in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing--according to the New York Times, he's "angrily" denying them. Here's an excerpt from the statement he released last night:
The suggestion that I was an informant for the FBI is outrageous and untrue. Like every investigative reporter, my job for 25 years has been to check out information and tips from sources. In the heat of the Oklahoma City bombing, it would not be unusual for me or any journalist to run information by a source within the FBI for confirmation or to notify authorities about a pending terrorist attack. This is consistent with the policies at every news organization. But at no time did I compromise a confidential source with the FBI or anyone else.
Gawker's John Cook first identified Isham, an investigative producer at ABC when the bombing took place in 1995, as the unnamed "senior ABC journalist" who served as an FBI informant during the mid-1990s. The Center for Public Integrity initially broke the story after obtaining a declassified FBI memo, but did not name Isham as the mole.
In his statement, Isham doesn't deny telling the FBI that Vincent Cannistraro, a former CIA agent who served as a consultant to ABC, was the source of the (incorrect) tip that Iraqi Special Services orchestrated the bombing in Oklahoma City and had two more attacks planned on buildings in Houston and Los Angeles. But he refutes the suggestion he did anything unethical, noting Cannistraro was not "a confidential source, but rather a colleague."
Cannistraro, for his part, told the Center that the revelation was "not a concern" for him
Isham left ABC for CBS in 2007. His biography on CBS News' website credits him with organizing "the first major network interview with Osama bin Laden in May 1998" and producing "numerous stories relating to the ongoing threat of international terrorism."