Leak: When the American-born Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki (pictured above) was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen last September, political leaders and legal scholars demanded that the Obama administration release a declassified version of the Justice Department memo that provided the legal rationale for killing a U.S. citizen without a trial. (For what it's worth, most Americans approve of strikes against suspected terrorists, even if they are American citizens.) It wasn't long before the contents of the memo were leaked to the New York Times -- an action Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith, in an article for Foreign Policy, described as an attempt by the executive branch to "have its cake (not talking about the [drone] program to serve diplomatic interests and perhaps deflect scrutiny) and eat it too (leaking to get credit for the operation and portray it as lawful)." Another law professor, Kenneth Anderson, accused the administration of "conducting the foreign policy of the U.S. by leaked journalism."
Leak: In January, the Justice Department charged former CIA officer John Kiriakou with leaking classified information to journalists about the identity of a CIA analyst who participated in 2002 detention and interrogation of al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah (Kiriakou also gave an interview to ABC News in 2007 in which he described waterboarding as torture). A month later, when White House press secretary Jay Carney noted that three Western journalists had died while trying to illuminate the "truth" about the bloodshed in Syria, Jake Tapper of ABC News asked Carney how his praise for "aggressive journalism abroad" squared with the administration's attempts to "stop aggressive journalism in the United States by using the Espionage Act to take whistleblowers to court."
Carney sidestepped the question, noting that the cases Tapper was referring to involved "highly sensitive, classified information," and returned to the brave journalists in Syria. "I particularly appreciate what they did to bring that story to the American people," he explained.
Administration officials, of course, have at times brought highly sensitive, classified stories to the American people -- when they had good stories to tell, that is.