"The information defused this morning by the L'Est Republicain newspaper concerning the possible death of Osama bin Laden cannot be confirmed," a Defense Ministry statement said.
The daily newspaper for the Lorraine region in eastern France printed what it described as a confidential document from the French foreign intelligence service DGSE citing an uncorroborated report from Saudi secret services that the leader of the al Qaeda terror network had died.
Intelligence sources tell CBS News that the document is an accurate reflection of what the Saudi intelligence agents believe.
Chirac said Saturday that the information is "in no way whatsoever confirmed." Chirac declined further comment.
Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie "has demanded an investigation be carried out of this leak," a ministry statement said, adding that transmission of the confidential document could risk punishment.
Defense Ministry spokesman Jean-Francois Bureau, clarifying the statement, said that the DGSE document exists but that its contents that bin Laden is allegedly dead — cannot be confirmed.
A senior White house official says of the information, "I wouldn't hold your breath," reports CBS News White House correspondent Jim Axelrod.
The DGSE, or Direction Generale des Services Exterieurs, indicated that its information came from a single source.