yes, it was originally intended for spies and dissidents in regimes hostile to the free flow of information to share information
that the us government is plugged into it from the ground floor doesn't change that fact
In 2004, the Naval Research Laboratory released the code for Tor under a free licence, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) began funding Dingledine and Mathewson to continue its development.
In December 2006, Dingledine, Mathewson and five others founded The Tor Project, a Massachusetts-based 501(c)(3) research-education nonprofit organization responsible for maintaining Tor. The EFF acted as The Tor Project's fiscal sponsor in its early years, and early financial supporters of The Tor Project included the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, Internews, Human Rights Watch, the University of Cambridge, Google, and Netherlands-based Stichting.net.
ah yes, those great crushers of freedom: the EFF, human rights watch, and now wikileaks
i'm certain the NSA has enough sniffing going on on enough tor exit nodes to kinda sorta figure out who you might be if it was important enough to them
but the point is simply that without tor, that ability to sniff still applies, but even more so. tor isn't bulletproof. it is but one more tool in your toolbox for cloaking and anonymity. combine it with other tools and methods and it is quite useful
tor is simply a good deal, not perfect. what is?
but if you are in moscow or beijing or tehran, and you want to divulge something nasty about those governments, you're certainly free to not use tor, because apparently only washington dc hurts people to keep secrets?