The Center for Public Integrity reports that a senior journalist at ABC News served as a confidential informant to the FBI in the mid-1990’s.
In the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing, ABC News received a tip that Iraq was behind the terrorist attack. The FBI got the ABC reporter to reveal their source, and proceeded to add them to the bureau’s informant database.
“If true, it would certainly be of grave concern to us that the FBI would have created an informant file based on information gleaned from a reporter,” [ABC spokesperson Jeffrey] Schneider said. “It certainly would be very troubling for the FBI to recruit a news employee as a confidential source.
“It can create a perception of collusion between the government and the news organization. It would put journalists everywhere at risk if people believed that journalists are acting as government agents. And it could raise the specter of the government trying to spy on a news organization,” he added.
Update: Gawker claims to know who the informant was.
According to the report, the journalist had been with ABC for over 15 years when they talked to the Government, information which the network says indicates that the journalist no longer works for the company.
“Based on your reporting, we believe the employee involved in the reporting no longer works here,” Schneider said. “Based on the description in the memo, this would not have followed that policy, but I cannot account for who this reporter may have talked with at the time.”
Update: Gawker’s John Cook reports that the informant was current CBS News VP and Washington Bureau Chief Christopher Isham. Isham declined to comment, and a CBS spokesperson referred them to ABC.