I actually agree with Michael Kinsley on something. See his column here in today’s WaPo:
It is no solution to say, as some do, that it is a journalist’s job to protect the identity of his or her sources and it is the government’s job to expose them. This isn’t a game. There is no invisible hand to guarantee that the struggle of competing forces will achieve the correct balance. Journalists ought to be concerned about national security, and government officials ought to be concerned about the First Amendment. When these interests conflict, those involved have an obligation to strike the balance for themselves.
The purpose of protecting the identity of leakers is to encourage future leaks. Leaks to journalists, and fear of leaks, can be an important restraint on misbehavior by powerful institutions and people. This serves the public interest. But there is no public interest in leaks that harm national security, or leaks that violate the law, or leaks intended to harm blameless individuals. There is no reason to want more of these kinds of leaks. So there is no reason to protect the identity of such bad-faith leakers.