WikiLeaks publishes security think tank emails
London, February 27, 2012
The anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks began publishing on Monday more than 5 million emails from a US-based global security think tank, apparently obtained by hackers.
WikiLeaks did not say how it had acquired access to the vast haul of internal and external correspondence of Strategic Forecasting (Stratfor) of Austin, Texas.
Hackers linked to the group Anonymous said at the beginning of 2012 that they had stolen the email correspondence of some 100 of the firm's employees and would one day publish the data so the public would know the truth about its operations.
Stratfor describes itself as a subscription-based publisher of geopolitical analysis with an intelligence-based approach to gathering information.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told Reuters: "Here we have a private intelligence firm, relying on informants from the US government, foreign intelligence agencies with questionable reputations, and journalists."
"What is of grave concern is that the targets of this scrutiny are, among others, activist organisations fighting for a just cause."
A Stratfor spokesman did not respond to requests for comment on Sunday evening in the US. Stratfor's chief executive and founder, George Friedman, warned on January 11 that emails had been stolen but said the thieves would be hard pressed to find anything significant.
"God knows what a hundred employees writing endless emails might say that is embarrassing, stupid or subject to misinterpretation ... As they search our emails for signs of a vast conspiracy, they will be disappointed."
It was not immediately clear what impact the release of the emails might have on Stratfor, its employees, clients and information sources.
Previous releases from WikiLeaks, such as secret video battle footage and thousands of US diplomatic cables about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in 2010 have infuriated the US government and raised questions about the safety of confidential sources quoted in some of those documents.
WikiLeaks said it was working with two dozen media partners around the world who have access to a sophisticated database of the Stratfor emails. They include the US newspaper publisher McClatchy Co. - Reuters