Hack Hack Hack Hack It Apart

Who Needs Hackers When You’ve Got an Expense Account?

Could it be that frequenting the steakhouses of Washington, D.C. is a better strategy than cyber espionage?
Down with cyber espionage! Love live steakspionage! (Photo: flickr.com/discoverdupage

Down with cyber espionage! Long live steakspionage! (Photo: flickr.com/discoverdupage

Recent weeks have brought a string of revelations about high-profile hacks originating in China. The latest: The Washington Post says that just about every think tank and federal agency in D.C. has been infiltrated by hackers trying to get a little insight into how Washington works. “They’re trying to make connections between prominent people who work at think tanks, prominent donors that they’ve heard of and how the government makes decisions,” one expert told the Post.

Well, former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour and his partner-in-lobbying Ed Rogers have a little news for these here foreign computer geeks. Hence their joint op-ed this week in Foreign Policy: “You Can’t Hack a Steakhouse.” Nosiree! 

Rather, you can learn much of what you need to know about the ways of Washington while sitting in front of a delicious plate of food, presumably paid for by either the taxpayers or, you know, lobbyists:

The Chinese government’s worst mistake was to imagine that it could find out anything worth knowing by reading things that were written down, electronically or otherwise. If anyone were writing down anything useful in the first place, WikiLeaks stopped all that. The fact is, you don’t have to spy — you can just ask. You don’t need to peep through the keyhole to follow the political maneuvering in Washington; just walk in to any good steakhouse and look around.

It’s No Reservations as spy movie. We love it, somebody greenlight it.

“Often it’s better to have a short sidebar conversation during a chance encounter at a dinner or cocktails with a 20- or 30-something staffer on a key congressional committee than a courtesy meeting with a member of Congress or a cabinet secretary,” they say.

So we come to the real point of the piece, which is that you really ought to consider hiring some lobbyists to steer you through the swamp that is the District of Columbia. Figures!

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com