Wikileaks releases "Global Intelligence Files" -- 5MM emails from private spook outfit Stratfor

Today, Wikileaks releases its "Global Intelligence Files," a trove of more than 5,000,000 emails from Stratfor, a Texas based "global intelligence" company. The dump includes emails detailing Stratfor's work with the US government on discrediting Wikileaks itself, as well as a lot of extremely dirty geopolitical laundry.

"[Is it] possible for us to get some of that 'leak-focused' gravy train? This is an obvious fear sale, so that's a good thing. And we have something to offer that the IT security companies don't, mainly our focus on counter-intelligence and surveillance that Fred and Stick know better than anyone on the planet... Could we develop some ideas and procedures on the idea of ´leak-focused' network security that focuses on preventing one's own employees from leaking sensitive information... In fact, I'm not so sure this is an IT problem that requires an IT solution."

Like WikiLeaks’ diplomatic cables, much of the significance of the emails will be revealed over the coming weeks, as our coalition and the public search through them and discover connections. Readers will find that whereas large numbers of Stratfor's subscribers and clients work in the US military and intelligence agencies, Stratfor gave a complimentary membership to the controversial Pakistan general Hamid Gul, former head of Pakistan's ISI intelligence service, who, according to US diplomatic cables, planned an IED attack on international forces in Afghanistan in 2006. Readers will discover Stratfor's internal email classification system that codes correspondence according to categories such as 'alpha', 'tactical' and 'secure'. The correspondence also contains code names for people of particular interest such as 'Izzies' (members of Hezbollah), or 'Adogg' (Mahmoud Ahmedinejad).

Stratfor did secret deals with dozens of media organisations and journalists – from Reuters to the Kiev Post. The list of Stratfor’s "Confederation Partners", whom Stratfor internally referred to as its "Confed Fuck House" are included in the release. While it is acceptable for journalists to swap information or be paid by other media organisations, because Stratfor is a private intelligence organisation that services governments and private clients these relationships are corrupt or corrupting.

WikiLeaks has also obtained Stratfor's list of informants and, in many cases, records of its payoffs, including $1,200 a month paid to the informant "Geronimo" , handled by Stratfor's Former State Department agent Fred Burton.

The Global Intelligence Files - List of Releases

The Global Intelligence Files (Press release)


  1. Most interesting tidbits so far are their views on the Secret Service, ATF, and Mossad.

    “They catch counterfeiters, break up child pornography rings and guard the president.  Continual identity crisis.  Very nice people.  Not, shall we say, the most sophisticated crew you’ll ever find.”

    “Alcohol Tobacco and Fire Arms.  Rednecks with a license to kill.  Never, ever, ever ask for their help on anything.”

    “Duplicitous little bastards”

  2. Not sure it’s accurate to call them a private spook outfit.  It’s not like they’re spies for hire.  They’re analysts for hire.

      1. Well, it is and it isn’t.  Spies deal in classified information.  Analysts might, but they can’t legally release that information to non-cleared individuals, especially since companies like these usually sell to an international market.

        1.  I think “Spy Agency for hire” might be a better fit then, seeing that they have a bunch of analysts  – like the “real” agencies – sitting at home analysing information gathered by handlers who have informants, who in turn have sources…again, like the “real ones”.

  3. Splendid, splendid. I’m sure some people will view this as a bad thing but, to glibly quote those who veer toward the pro-surveillance and monitoring side of the debate, “those with nothing to hide have nothing to fear.”

    Unless that only applies when the shoe is on the other foot?

      1. I never said that they had anything to do with the policies. I made a tongue-in-cheek reference to the disconnect between those that have no problem with the state/private companies employed by the state/misc other interested parties keeping tabs and the default position of said people whenever the situation is reversed.

        Though I do appreciate that not everyone finds it as amusing as I do when those involved in the surveilance/”global intelligence”/spook business get all butthurt about people knowing what they’re up to and wanting answers to awkward questions such as is that legal and where did all this money come from/go to.

  4.  That’s basically correct.  And, at least insofar as their areas of interest have overlapped my own areas of specialty, they are not very good ones, basically recapitulating public source material.

  5. never mind the fact that if this compromises the cover of any of their informants that people could die… I swear everyone feels all self righteous when stuff like this comes out, but they forget that the data could actually get people killed.

    1. Presumably the risk of people being killed can therefore be used to justify any and all actions in our society. If not, at what point does the justification cease to apply?

      I take your point about the callous self righteousness, I really do, but the question remains.

      1.  it is a valid point that the “people’s lives being endangered” can be overused to hide state secrets. I think that there is a responsibility that anyone has before information like this is released to make any effect on peoples lives minimal and eliminate personal information that could get people killed. My longstanding gripe with wikileaks is they do none of this, but rather post everything and damn the consequences. The flip side of the coin was when the new york times got a hold of the wikileaks data previously they made a conscious effort to make sure people were protected when they posted the data and urged wikileaks to do the same thing. It was a suggestion that wikileaks ignored for the most part.  (there is a great article from the NYT describing this but I cannot seem to find ATM). Anyways my point being people need to think before they self righteously post a ton of sensitive data about how it will effect others, and what the real purpose of it is.

        1. NYT went to the US government before publishing anything out of Cablegate to give the US government “a space to push back” against publication of sensitive info. With foreign policy at least, they are not the bravest. As Eric Schmitt — one of their senior writers on national security issues; he worked with Assange in London — said at a seminar in Houston I attended, the NYT is “not the Musketeers or anything like that.” I say bring on the Musketeers.

          There has been no evidence WikiLeaks publications have harmed anyone, and several US Government officials agree. So the accusation that the (sometimes) lack of redactions puts people at risk is at least to a large extent a hypothetical that applies to anything significant, as James points out above.

  6. This has been going on since before writing was invented but If these leaks focus the few who are not terrorized by their own shadows to acknowledge and do something about it then I am very happy . Indeed, this whole thing about privacy and transparency is moot.  People want to be able to say mean things, do mean things in the vain hopes that they will be safe -or in control.  The sooner we all can accept the facts that we are not separate, and have never been separate, from each other, the sooner we can make the transition into amore enlightened era.The sooner then we can accept that we are literally our brothers and sisters keeper.

  7. The problem with this is that a) these are internal emails for the most part, between people who work together and think out loud… real views/data are interspersed with coworkers and friends joking around and shooting ideas back and forth as they process and analyze world events and geopolitics…would you trust outsiders to accurately interpret all of the stuff in the emails you send to your co-workers day to day? b) yes, stratfor works with companies etc. (is this necessarily bad?), but ANYONE can subscribe to their analyses… in my eyes that means they are tearing down barriers to information that organizations like the CIA erect and closely guard. I’ve lost a lot of respect for anonymous out of this whole thing. Maybe they should hire some independent analysts to help them discern real targets from fluff.    

    1. Isn’t that the whole point of Wikileaks, or release the info and let readers judge for themselves..?
      I’m really grateful to Anonymous and Wikileaks for what they do.. 

    2. I wouldn’t trust outsiders to interpret the things they saw in my e-mails out of context. But on the other hand, the things in my mailbox — the things I do with my life — don’t impact people nearly as extensively, nor as callously, as those done by the intelligence community. Perhaps it is easy to misinterpret some of what’s in those mails… but it sounds like there’s some stuff in there that’s also pretty blatant admission of unethical behavior, like this wonderful barrier-busting company of yours participating in smear campaigns for the government.

      Okay, it’s a damn shame their employees’ privacy is being illegally violated, and if we lived in an otherwise perfectly just world I’d be outraged… But it’s also a damn shame that, yeah, IMHO the general public has a damn fine motive to peek into their mail. We have good reason to want to know what decisions they’re making. These decisions affect the rest of us profoundly, and obviously they are some they’d prefer we not know about. These people have power that you and I don’t and this is one of the few ways we have to keep it in some semblance of balance.

      I think Anonymous is quite aware of what it’s doing and just doesn’t care as much about the rights of corporations, vis-a-vis those of citizens, as you’d like it to.

      1. My point, primarily, is that stratfor is a poor target if your goal is to keep entities with significant power honest and in check. That’s a good goal, but this attempt is actually counter productive because unlike secretive state-run intelligence agencies with black hole budgets and the power to make “decisions that affect the rest of us profoundly,” these people distribute their information to anyone and everyone who’s willing to create a username and password, and they seem to function, from what I can tell, like a cross between security consultants and journalists. Doesn’t mean they’re totally clean, hell if I know, but so far, very underwhelming stuff when there is truly serious, mind blowingly unethical and corrupt behavior occurring throughout government and industry. It’s like they have a laser cannon and decided it’d be cool to singe the antennae off an ant because it was spotted crawling around the U.N. building.

        And don’t presume to know what I’d like. If anonymous can actually contribute to disrupting the corruption between government and industry, I’m all for it. Target politicians and likely sources of big time, offensive corruption with the corporate world. It’ll be good for citizens and industry. If, however, they’re going to continue to operate with a black and white mindset where being associated with government, intelligence, or industry means you’re evil and need to burn, they become part of the problem, a distraction, just another source of hyperbole and divisiveness.  

        1.  That’s not entirely true, at least according to the Stratfor glossary WikiLeaks published. Stratfor goes in to offline meetings to brief clients using PowerPoint presentations etc.

  8. These guys hired out to companies like Dow to spy on activists. It’s bad enough that the cops do this without clowns like these getting into the act. They’re not cheap and they’re not a public service, and they were hoping for an IPO, of sorts (StratCap).

    How’s it feel when the gumshoe’s on the other foot?

    1.  I would think Stratfor monitors activists because the police shouldn’t be doing it. Private companies should probably be keeping tabs on people who are campaigning against them – I’d have thought that was just good business sense. The question should be: did they do something illegal in that respect? As, presumably, stealing their emails was an illegal act.
      Thus far, I’d say the released emails are pretty much office gossip and that there’s no evidence of wrongdoing. If it’s revealed that Stratfor was engaged in criminal actions then that’s another bag of chips, but thus far it’s rather underwhelming.

  9. Reminds me once again that keeping corporate contracts private may be the worst that has ever happened to the democratic principle of transparency.

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