Browsing through an old NSA document called Transition 2001, dated December 2000, I came across this tidbit on page 3.
“In transforming the cryptologic system, the NSA/CSS must shift significant emphasis and resources from current products, services, and targets to the modern and anticipated information technology environment for both SIGINT and information assurance. The NSA/CSS must be capable of operating with our partners seamlessly in the global network; where possible sustaining our global response, where necessary succeeding through tailored access.”
This paragraph was unclassified in the original document, suggesting that the NSA plan to adapt to the new world through tailored access wasn’t at all a secret even back in 2000. Of course, the document in which this paragraph was contained was originally classified Secret (and is now declassified), so having access to this document would not have been easy. Still, it’s interesting to me as an example of refusing to believe that they had lost the crypto wars. And we have since learned that they had the technical capability to be justified in that belief.