When I started in IT in the late 80s
it was full of those that present on merit and talent, and was still such a new thing that management did not take it for granted.
Nowadays, there is a noticeable drop-off in those in their 20s in corporate IT. The talented people have found something more interesting to do.
It sounds like you have discovered the extra hidden "feature" of working in IT that most IT workers didn't realise was there and hate having to navigate - politics and power games. Once you get above a certain level in a hierarchy, that is all you do, protect your patch and do over other people / sections.
I mentioned to Dominic Connor that he should write a book about office politics for techies. Haven't heard much on that count, might start a blog as I recognise certain things as they occur in my current office.