Who Was The FBI Mole At ABC?

There is an alarming report the FBI had a senior ABC news journalist as a confidential informant in the 1990s — a report who was actually given a confidential source designation with other snitches. The reporter appears to have passed along confidential information to the FBI including the identification of a confidential source. The reporter is identified only as informant number NY290000-SI-DT and the description as “a senior official employed by ABC News for over 15 years.”

The reporter was clearly involved the early coverage of the Oklahoma City bombing. However, ABC is quoted as dismissing the matter by saying that it does not know who the reporter was but curiously stated its confidence that the reporter was no longer working for the network.

The report raised highly disturbing questions. The first and most important question is who was aware of the running of a mole or snitch at ABC, including the agent contact with the report and that agent’s supervisors. This should be a matter for investigation within both the legislative and executive branches. It is a direct threat to a free press and is a common practice in authoritarian countries.

The second question is what ABC is doing about the story. The network owes its sources and its staff a thorough investigation.

One person who has been the subject of speculation, Washington bureau chief for CBS News Christopher Isham, has now denied being informant number NY290000-SI-DT.

The FBI has refused to identify the reporter. Worse yet, the FBI indicated that it may have had other reporters in the past who were used as confidential sources. I am not sure why this report has not caused a firestorm of controversy. The FBI just admitted to penetrating a leading news organization with an informant and the silence is deafening.

The recently released memo shows that “several high-ranking FBI officials were involved in approving the approach to the ABC reporter, including Supervisory Special Agent Thomas Nicoletti and Thomas Pickard, then a special agent in charge of the FBI’s New York office who eventually would rise to the No. 2 job in the bureau.” Nicoletti was later hired by ABC as a consultant.

Nicoletti and Pickard may no longer be subject to discipline within the FBI but they are worthy of public condemnation if this story is true. Their lack of judgment should be the cause for legislation barring such misconduct in the future.

Source: Public Integrity

Jonathan Turley

31 thoughts on “Who Was The FBI Mole At ABC?”

  1. Re: Elaine’s role in Moledom

    The CBS-Reporter-Chris Isham-Is-An-FBI-Mole Story Is A Crock
    by John Ellis | Apr. 6, 2011, 12:17 PM


    “Where do you suppose the alleged FBI mole had me meet the FBI’s most famous special agent? Elaine’s! That particular evening, it seemed like the entire upper echelon of New York media was having dinner at Elaine’s. On other evenings, various newspaper and magazine editors would join us. Mr. Isham didn’t make a good mole for the simple reason that he wasn’t one. It would never occur to him to even consider the idea.”

    Does any one of us really know Elaine? 🙂

  2. pete you were sooooo close.

    The FBI is paying Tootie to be a boil.

    Moles can be beauty marks.

    Boils are never pleasant.

  3. I have no doubt that this didn’t end in the 1990’s, just like torture didn’t end after Bush. Government plants in news agencies, the blogosphere, and on social media are likely quite widespread.

  4. Elaine M.
    1, April 6, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Just so you know–I’m the mole at the Turley blog. Please don’t tell anyone

    and i would’ve bet tootie was the double-naught spy

  5. Just keep in mind that the FBI was set up and run for 36 years by a couple of true weirdos.

    Also keep in mind that the 9/11 plot was planned and carried out over a series of months right under the noses of the FBI ala Freeh (till June of 2001, Pickard (acting till Sept 4, 2001), Mueller ( started on Sept 4, 2001) … 3 Directors and not a one of them had a clue. Too busy infiltrating television networks I guess.

  6. This is the free-est most awesome-est country in the entire history of the world. If planting spies in the press is authoritarian then we will just have to change the definition of Constitutional Republic to include that word.

  7. Anyone who was at all active during the Civil Rights and Nam demonstrations back in the day aren’t the least bit surprised by this revelation.

    ABC should develop a new series ….

  8. I’d say that there are still some REAL journalists doing in-depth investigative journalism today. Unfortunately, we rarely see these people being interviewed on television–and, all too often, few people in this country pay much attention to what these journalists write/report…or they forget about their stories because there’s so little follow-up by other media outlets. We get a lot of garbage news about Michele Bachmann, gatherings with “dozens” of Tea Partiers, Charlie Sheen…listen to talking heads who are often political consultants paid to pass along talking points and spokesman from think tanks with political agendas. What we don’t hear/read is a lot of talk/news of real substance these days.

  9. Ronnie was a CI for the FBI during the McCarthy years….Maybe the Mole could become president…

  10. ” I do agree with Bruce on this”

    “All I see here is a possible violation of journalism ethics (which isn’t saying much, these days).”

  11. I know journalists are supposed to be objective and unbiased but that credo went out the window eons ago, particularly when you have FAUXNewz as the official media outlet for the GOP; when so many in the MSM fawn all over and ask elected officials softball questions; and so few in the MSM take on those who out-and-out lie and hurl hyperbolic garbage.

    Unless I missed something, I do agree with Bruce on this – he brings up very good questions.

  12. Heads should roll over this abusive intrusion by the FBI. Where else does the FBI have moles planted where they don’t belong?

  13. Actually CBS was fingered years ago as providing information to the FBI and CIA in the ’50s and ’60s. There may have been others but I remember CBS. I think it is safe to assume this happens a lot & not just at ABC and CBS.

  14. What law has been broken? Why was it legal for Bob Woodward to have a confidential source at the top of the FBI, but the FBI can’t have sources inside a news bureau? Why do you assume that the reporter was providing information to the FBI about his colleagues? Perhaps he was passing on rumors that he couldn’t report on because of his network’s verification requirements? I can also imagine a relationship between an FBI agent and a reporter where they are sources for each other.

    All I see here is a possible violation of journalism ethics (which isn’t saying much, these days).

  15. The nets have been corrupt from almost the very beginning. They are in bed with the CIA as well (all, including the CIA, belong to the Council on Foreign Relations).

    Their shared goal is the destruction of the United States (which the self-proclaimed goal of the CFR, not only for the US, but all nations).

    Hate Fox News all you like, but until it (and CNN) came along, ABC, CBS, and NBC were and still are just government operations. Pravda on camera.

    Fox News is CFR as well, but it is not controlled by the FCC like the nets are.

    The more free our media is the freer we will be. The Democrats are largely opposed to that.

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