WASHINGTON — The Washington bureau chief for CBS News says reports that he gave up a confidential informant to the FBI in the 1990s while he worked at ABC simply aren’t true, according to the Huffington Post.
A story by the Center for Public Integrity said declassified memo suggested that the then-ABC reporter disclosed the name of a confidential source to the FBI in the wake of the Oklahoma bombing.
But the reporter, Christopher Isham, whose name was not in the memo, but who was identified by the website Gawker, issued a statement, according to the Huffington Post, saying the allegations were ” “outrageous and untrue” and that he would have talked to the FBI to verify info or warn of a potential terrorist attack.
“This is consistent with the policies at every news organization,” Isham said, according to the Huffington Post. “But at no time did I compromise a confidential source with the FBI or anyone else.”
The news reports said the source in question was Vincent Cannistrarto, a former CIA official who was working for ABC News at the time as a paid consultant, Huffington Post reported. Cannistrato passed on a tip that ended up being untrue: that the Iraqi Special Services were linked to the Oklahoma bombing.
“Mr. Cannistraro was not a confidential source, but rather a colleague–a paid consultant to ABC News who had already spoken to the FBI about information he had received,” Isham said, according to the Huffington Post.
The New York Times reported that Cannistraro, “said in an interview that Mr. Isham had done something discourteous, perhaps, but not improper.”
“I was working for ABC as a consultant,” he said. “I was not a confidential source.”
The Times reported that said he would have preferred if Isham told him about passing on the tip.
“I was not told that Chris was also going to talk to them. And he certainly didn’t tell me,” Cannistraro said, according to the Times.