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CBS News bureau chief calls FBI informant report 'untrue'

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CBS News’ Washington bureau chief Christopher Isham defended himself Tuesday against a report that he was a possible FBI informant when he worked at ABC News years ago.

“The suggestion that I was an informant for the FBI is outrageous and untrue,” said Isham in a statement. “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. 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 identified in a media report that described a declassified memo in which a journalist was looked at by the FBI as a possible informant after he had revealed details about a false tip the network received alleging a Saudi connection to the Oklahoma City bombing.

CBS News added: “CBS News has strict standards regarding the handling of source material and we are discussing the facts of the allegations with Chris. The events in question are a matter between the FBI and ABC News.”