Let's look at what those "patriotic people" (as you call them) did.
First of all, we can look at what they DIDN'T do. They didn't identify anything that wasn't already under investigation, didn't change the corrective actions, and didn't make a difference in who got put in jail.
What they DID do was violate federal law by illegally releasing classified documents to the press. In this case, it was classified "secret", which means its release would cause serious damage to the national security of the United States.
In response, the US suffered substantial political damage in the Arab world. Moreover, a lot of people (both American and Iraqi) died as a result of violence incited by anger over the photos, stoked by Islamists exploiting the issue to generate outrage. Nick Berg's beheading was a direct result of that leak.
Personally, I don't consider that to be patriotic. Patriotic would be identifying the people involved and holding them accountable -- but doing it in such a way that doesn't aid the enemy. The people who leaked those photos have a lot of blood on their hands because they wanted to grind a political axe more than they wanted to fix the problem. You're assuming these people were in the Army, but I highly doubt it.
You think leaked photos is how the insurgents found out about this and then took revenge? You can bet the goings on in Abu Ghraib were common knowledge among the Iraqi's and Arabs long before the story and photos blew up. The photos made Americans aware of it.