The purpose of the article was to cut through the fear-mongering rhetoric with a little bit of reality. I didn't get the sense that they were defending what the NSA is doing. It was a tech article, not a political article.
The people who work for the NSA aren't gods. They're men with expensive toys, but it's guaranteed that there are far less of them than there are hackers who are working against them as we speak. Remember, if the NSA was some all-powerful entity worthy of our constant fear, the Snowden situation would never have happened and we wouldn't be reading articles like this. The fact that we're even having this discussion is proof of their vulnerability.