This is a dishonest argument - many of the zero days held by the Chinese are likely to be the same zero days being withheld the N.S.A., so by disclosing them the N.S.A. would be dealing a huge blow to our adversaries' offensive capabilities.
The NYT should have gotten a quote to counter-balance this argument from a "senior intelligence official" (upon whom they shamefully, but predictably, bestowed anonymity). Now many of the people reading this article will come away believing this is akin to nuclear disarmament, which is a totally inapt comparison.
I'm with you on the rest of your points but not on this one. Balance would be nice but anonymity is often key to good reporting. There's nothing shameful about soliciting a quote and then keeping that person anonymous.
In narrow circumstances, such as whistle-blowing where the source would face harm from a disclosure of their identity, anonymity is both appropriate and essential (and in such a case it's essential for the newspaper to do as much verification as possible before conferring anonymity). But a government employee spewing pro-government propaganda does not need the protection of anonymity.
Edit: reworded for clarity.
> During his shuttle diplomacy in the Middle East, Kissinger insisted on anonymity even though the information was reported by the press traveling with him and attributed to the "senior official on the plane." On one of Kissinger's sojourns, humorist Art Buchwald attributed information to a "high U.S. official with wavy hair, horn-rimmed glasses and a German accent."
> Periodically, journalists grow weary of the insistence on anonymity and rebel. But generally not for long.
> In 1971, then-Washington Post Executive Editor Ben Bradlee ordered that information provided by Kissinger about a pending summit meeting be attributed to him because it was simply too important to be reported anonymously, according to Walter Isaacson's book "Kissinger."
> "The Post's action caused a widespread realization that reliance on backgrounders had gone too far," Isaacson wrote. Nevertheless, the White House Correspondents Association soon passed a resolution agreeing to abide by Kissinger's briefing rules.
How does it help us, the public, to let Kissinger choose when to make anonymous statements?
Overall that American Journalism Review link points out that time and time again, with only a few exceptions, anonymity is abused.
Are you sure?