Bill Keller, former Executive Editor of The New York Times
The reference to "people with noble intentions" was part of a recent comment made by former New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller to the Times current Public Editor Margaret Sullivan who queried him about the Bush administration request in October 2004 that the Times not publish an article about the secret program to eavesdrop on Americans without warrants which the administration had authorized (which coincidentally was just prior to the presidential election).
As we know the Times did publish the article by James Risen and Eric Lichtblau some 13 months later in 2005 which it won a Pulitzer Prize in 2006 and which Keller now says, "The story looks prescient. We now know that "people with noble intentions' (emphasis added) can run way out of bounds".
Risen and Lichtblau were on to that way back in 2004. And like Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein before them in 1972 with their investigation of the "Watergate" scandal and the Nixon White House, Risen and Lichtblau didn't see the Bush administration acting with "noble intentions" when they fought to have the story published in October 2004, not subsequently delayed for 13 months by Bill Keller.
And it's not hindsight that causes one to cast aspersions at Keller's "people with noble intentions" remark regarding Bush administration official's credibility when it came to protecting the president and the policies and actions he had secretly undertaken.
The main reason Edward Snowden went to Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian and video journalist Laura Poitras was his concern, in light of what Keller did with Risen story, that those leaking information "must have absolute confidence that the journalists they go to will report on that information rather than bury it".