A very current example is the rogue operation in Iraq of CIA contractor Robert Levinson. The White House is quoted in the article as saying "was not a U.S. government employee", which they can do because he was a contractor as opposed to an employee.
You may want to re-read the original AP article about Levinson.
He was "not a U.S. government employee" because at the time of his disappearance, his contract had finished and he was working on spec.
Problem was, Levinson's contract was out of money and, though the CIA was working to authorize more, it had yet to do so.
"I would like to know if I do, in fact, expend my own funds to conduct this meeting, there will be reimbursement sometime in the near future, or, if I should discontinue this, as well as any and all similar projects until renewal time in May," Levinson wrote.
It's a very nuanced position to make and the government should be ashamed for making it, but they're not factually incorrect.