Some anonymous sources seem credible despite their anonymity. They are clearly in vulnerable positions, so their anonymity seems necessary.
A former senior intelligence official said Thursday it is "inconceivable" that the CIA briefers would not have talked about interrogation methods that had already been used.
"I can't prove it," the official said, but added, "The whole point [of the briefings] was to make sure they [lawmakers] understood what we were doing." The official asked to comment anonymously so he could speak more candidly.
This is not one of those sources. This "former senior intelligence official" seems like a Bushist spinner of bullshit.
The reporter, also anonymous, helpfully dittoed the former official's fig leaf that he needed to be anonymous to speak candidly. This is also bullshit. There's no candor in what he says, only self-interested speculation.
The use of these quotes is journalistic malpractice, in other words standard operating procedure for the insider Beltway press.