Ask, and the internet swiftly provides: Earlier today, we told you about a declassified memo describing an unnamed ABC News journalist looked at by the FBI as a possible informant after he had revealed information about a (false) tip the network received concerning Saudi connections to the Oklahoma City bombing. ABC News claimed to be unsure of the journalist’s identity, but seemed confident that the person in question no longer worked at the network.
Turns out, that’s true: The journalist in question has now been identified, by multiple sources, as CBS News’ Washington bureau chief / vice president Christopher Isham. Gawker reports that Isham, who worked at ABC news from 1978 to 2007, matches the description outlined in the memo (specifically, that he’d been at the network for “over 15 years” in 1995) and formerly ran the show’s investigate unit. Isham was close friends with former FBI counterterrorism chief John O’Neill, who died in the attacks on 9/11, and is also responsible for the first network interview with Osama bin Laden. O’Neill had asked to see unedited footage of that interview, with Isham refusing on the basis of the network’s policy against sharing unedited content with government officials. Later, however, Isham posted the footage online, in its entirety.
Interestingly, Frontline conducted an in-depth interview with Isham in 2002, wherein he discusses ethics in journalism and the relationship between the government and reporters.
Isham is choosing not to comment on the matter.
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