For all Its faults, the NSA is more of a flawed character than an evil one. It does have a particular job to do, the job it's supposed to do is a worthwhile one, and for the most part "our"* criticism of it has to do with its methods, not its mandate. We do, actually, want to know what foreign governments are up to, especially in terms of what those governments might be planning that severely affects America's interests. We do, actually, want our government to know what terrorists are up to, as part of a combined good faith effort to counter-act them.
We also, of course, want a lot of other things, but just as the most pacifist of us would stop short of demanding an end to the US military - at least, while other governments have one - few would demand an intelligence gathering organization cease to exist simply because of privacy issues. In both cases we might want to rein in the excesses, but we don't want to do away with them altogether.
So no, I don't see it as completely unreasonable that the NSA would recruit from the nerd communities, leaving aside the somewhat inconvenient fact that they kinda need our skills these days...
Would I take a job there? Probably not, largely because (post Snowden) I'd be concerned I'd be put in a position whether I have to choose between betraying my principles or betraying my promises. But others may feel much more comfortable with the possible boundaries the job has.
* as left wing nerds - teahadists can pretend you're against it too, but be honest, you supported the darkest of Cheney's fantasies, we don't believe your sudden opposition to the NSA to be anything other than related to who's in the White House.