Gerald Weinberger, in the 1971 book The Psychology of Computer Programming, gives the following anecdote:
The numerous stages [of reporting?] can produce interesting effects, as a result of filtering practices in a large project. An extreme example was found in a military project that involved not only programming but creating of a worldwide communication network. The programming project itself consistent of about 75 first-level people organized into twelve teams, with the twelve team leders reporting to one programming project manager. [...] Each month, by the requirements of the contract, a progress report had to be submitted to the government. Naturally, since this was an expensive project, the report had to be printed in an impressive full-color format. This meant the final copy for the report had t be in the hands of the printer twelve days before the report deadline—the tenth of the month following the month of the report. [...] Therefore [due to the multi-level reporting delays], what the individual team was reporting was not progress for the month but a prediction for the next month. What came out the other end, however, was labeled as progress reporting, and nobody seemed to worry about the differences. [...] The net result of six or seven stages of such filtering was a report that monthly presented a consistent forward progress, a few areas slightly behind or slightly ahead, a few problems solved from last month, a few new problems and a few problems still open. There was, in short, no measurable relationship between what had been reported at the bottom and what came out the top. Of course, what went in the bottom was only a prediction of progress anyway, so perhaps it didn't matter what was done to it on the way up.
Is that the ARPANET project, by any chance?