I noted on Phi Beta the piece on Dana Priest and your comment, which appears sadly right on the mark. You may want to check the 14 July article in the Post about former NSA senior Thomas Drake who is being indicted for spelling the beans on Trailblazer to the Baltimore Sun.
There is a lot of misinformation in the article about Project Thin Thread, an information management scheme that was virtually worthless, but had a number of defenders at the agency of which Drake was the most prominent. The author of the article also knows nothing about Trailblazer which was NOT a replacement for Thin Thread, but a much broader, if ill defined, modernization program.
This earlier article is relevant to the Priest series because as Trailblazer continued to founder NSA hired more and more contractors to try get the program on track. Both programs provide striking evidence of failures of technical leadership and incompetent project management which appear to endemic at NSA.
Incidentally several unnamed sources at the Fort contacted for article continue to argue that Trailblazer produced some worthwhile results. This is nonsense.
I served the Trailblazer program both as an NSA senior analyst and later as a contractor so observed the Trailblazer debacle from inside and outside.