CBS Exec, Outed By Gawker, Hotly Denies He Was An FBI Mole

oklahoma city, isham

[credit provider=”Wikimedia, CBS”]

The CBS Washington Bureau Chief who Gawker reported was the FBI mole mentioned in a report published by the centre for Public Integrity, is hotly denying the charges.Some background.  Yesterday the centre released a report, part of which ran in the Daily Beast, revealing that the FBI had “treated a senior ABC News journalist as a potential confidential informant in the 1990s, pumping the reporter to ascertain the source of a sensational but uncorroborated tip that the network had obtained during its early coverage of the Oklahoma City bombing.”

John Cook at Gawker did some digging and yesterday afternoon reported that the mole was Christopher Isham, who is now a vice president at CBS News and the network’s Washington bureau chief.

Today Isham and CBS are hotly denying the charges calling them “outrageous and untrue.” 

From the NYT (which neglected to mention Gawker in its report…oh those evil aggregators):

“Like every investigative reporter, my job for 25 years has been to check out information and tips from sources,” Mr. Isham said in a statement released through a CBS spokeswoman. “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 F.B.I. for confirmation or to notify authorities about a pending terrorist attack.

The NYT also quotes an FBI informant who says that while Isham may have passed on information he “was never considered a source. 

One of Mr. Isham’s former colleagues reflected that reporters were under “”tremendous pressure” for F.B.I. agents to recruit informants in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing and noted that being considered an F.B.I. source did not necessarily mean a person was a willing informant.”

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