The U.S. government has always appeared to be opposed to Tor due to the nature of illegal activities the software can enable. It appears, though, that certain government officials have no problems vocally endorsing the use of Tor.
“That’s not a good way to protect your stuff, because the FBI can go through it like eggshells,” Judge Robert Jenson Bryan says. He disagrees with the DoJ employee’s recommendation.
Tor, from the very start, has been intertwined with the U.S. government. Not only did Tor spawn from government researchers but the U.S. has contributed to at least 80% of The Onion Project’s funding for the software. In fact in 2015, Tor opened up crowd-funding to become less reliant on the U.S. government (and of course to allow spending flexibility).
In the 1990’s, employees of the United States Naval Research Laboratory created the essence of the Tor we know. Onion routing was developed to protect intelligence data from spying eyes. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency picked up the project in the late 90s. After several showcases and an alpha version, the project’s source code was released by the NRL in 2004. The EFF picked up the project and funded the two