The Bureau of Investigative Journalism found that drones targeted funeral mourners and rescuers responding to prior strikes. One government official, granted the veil of anonymity by The New York Times, would not deny that it had done so. Instead, he or she suggested that to "malign the efforts" was to "help Al Qaeda succeed."
Glenn Greenwald notes that the New York Times broke its own policies on source anonymity to run the quote.
The Bureau’s journalists and researchers spent months engaged in the painstaking and difficult task of gathering documentation on the effects of the top secret U.S. drone program in Waziristan — producing extraordinary findings — only to find themselves and their sources, many of whom are local villagers whose children have been killed, depicted as Al Qaeda’s witting or unwitting allies the very next day in The New York Times, by some senior government official too frightened to put his name on his accusations and aided (as always) by a newspaper that has repeatedly vowed to stop these practices.
It looks like the price of continued access to "senior counterterrorism officials" is that you must, now and again, launder their dirty political opinions.