Sharpton to '60 Minutes' in 2011: I 'Cooperated' With FBI

Image: Sharpton to '60 Minutes' in 2011: I 'Cooperated' With FBI (Getty Images)

Friday, 11 Apr 2014 09:56 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Al Sharpton has a different definition for his days as an FBI snitch -- in a 2011 interview, he claimed when he "cooperated" with the feds and "initiated investigations," it was just like his civil rights work.

In a testy exchange with "60 Minutes" correspondent Lesley Stahl -- outtakes of which were released Friday -- the activist minister and MSNBC "Politics Nation" host pushes back at questions about whether he was an informant in the 1980s.

"If you want to call working to help get the drug dealers and to give the FBI addresses and names and all that, an informant, then that's what you call it," he told Stahl. 

"So when people say you were an FBI informant, that's what they're talking about," Stahl persisted.

"I don't know what they're talking about," he shot back. "I mean, you've had people accuse me of everything."

But she pressed, "What is the right word that you would use?"

"That I cooperated and initiated some investigations, just like I have all my civil rights career," he said.

Earlier this week, the website The Smoking Gun wrote a detailed report on the FBI collaboration, noting Sharpton was referred to by the agency as "CI-7" -- short for confidential informant No. 7. 

The report claimed the FBI got Sharpton to work for them by using a surveillance video showing him discussing cocaine with an ­undercover agent.

But in his 2011 interview with "60 Minutes," Sharpton takes issue with that scenario.

"They tried to entrap me ... involve me ... in whatever they were doing. And it didn't work," he said. 

The outtakes surfaced the same day President Barack Obama delivered a speech on voting rights at Sharpton's National Action Network conference. The president made no mention of the activist's FBI work.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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