Annual computer hacker event, Defcon took place in late July - and leading US federal officials were scouting for new talent there.
Reuters reports a speech to hackers by assistant secretary of defence Linton Wells, who said: ""If you want to work on cutting-edge problems, if you want to be part of the truly great issues of our time - we invite you to work with us."
He was speaking at a 'Meet the Feds' panel.
The report shows the perceived difference between US government and its people: "A young man waved a pages-long manifesto and demanded, 'I would like to know why the federal government, especially some of the law enforcement agencies, are destroying this country'".
Of course, law enforcement officials are also there to develop sources and identify potential miscreants. But the terrain has changed, "some Defcon staffers even hold down day jobs with the National Security Agency and other government shops," the report explains.
Cisco router and wireless attacks are the new black (hats)
However, threats remain: "Some hackers spent the weekend in their hotel rooms cooking up a new way to take control of the Cisco routers that underpin much of the Internet."
Otherwise, hackers at the show happily launched 2,500 attacks at Defcon's own wireless network over two days, according to AirDefense.