WikiLeaks dumps intelligence firm’s emails, company says it ‘will not be silenced’

Josh Peterson Tech Editor

WikiLeaks published 214 files Monday related to the December hack that rocked private intelligence firm Stratfor. The company, known for its sophisticated geopolitical analysis derived from well-cultivated sources, condemned the publishing of its private email communications as “a deplorable, unfortunate — and illegal — breach of privacy.”

The emails, according to WikiLeaks, show “Stratfor’s web of informers, pay-off structure, payment laundering techniques and psychological methods.”

Dating between July 2004 and late December 2011, WikiLeaks purports that the emails “reveal the inner workings of a company that fronts as an intelligence publisher, but provides confidential intelligence services to large corporations, such as Bhopal’s Dow Chemical Co., Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and government agencies, including the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Marines and the US Defence Intelligence Agency.”

WikiLeaks also purports that the emails contain information about an insider-trading scheme allegedly devised by Stratfor founder and CEO George Friedman in order to profit from the specialized industry and government knowledge the company cultivates for its subscribers.

Stratfor, in a public statement, warned: “Some of the emails may be forged or altered to include inaccuracies; some may be authentic. We will not validate either. Nor will we explain the thinking that went into them. Having had our property stolen, we will not be victimized twice by submitting to questioning about them.”

The leak, according to Stratfor, is not the result of a new hack. The company said its data systems remain “protected and secure.” (RELATED: More on WikiLeaks)

“Stratfor has worked to build good sources in many countries around the world, as any publisher of global geopolitical analysis would do,” read the statement. “We have done so in a straightforward manner and we are committed to meeting the highest standards of professional conduct.”

WikiLeaks partnered with 25 different media organizations from countries around the world to investigate the emails, including outfits in Lebanon, Egypt, Pakistan, Malaysia, Tunisia and Russia. Publications from several Western countries, including the U.S., Germany, Greece and Spain were also on the list. Partners include McClatchy, Rolling Stone and Russia Reporter.

“The organisations were provided access to a sophisticated investigative database developed by WikiLeaks and together with WikiLeaks are conducting journalistic evaluations of these emails,” said WikiLeaks. “Important revelations discovered using this system will appear in the media in the coming weeks, together with the gradual release of the source documents.”

An email circulated to some Stratfor subscribers on Sunday featured a letter of resignation from CEO George Friedman. The email was found to be a fake when Stratfor’s statement, published in the wee hours of Monday morning, stressed that Friedman would not be stepping down.

“This is another attempt to silence and intimidate the company, and one we reject,” said the firm. “Under the continued leadership of founder and Chief Executive Officer George Friedman, Stratfor will not be silenced and will continue to publish the geopolitical analysis our friends and subscribers have come to rely upon.”

Stratfor spokesman Kyle Rhodes, in a statement to The Daily Caller, denounced the rumors and confirmed Friedman’s continuing leadership of the company.

“Contrary to information circulating the Internet, George Friedman has not resigned and remains CEO of Stratfor,” said Rhodes.

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