The Epistle to the Stratforians

dear Stratfor clients, let us know how you really feel?

dear Stratfor clients, let us know how you really feel?

Yes, if you looked closely on Twitter there WAS something more interesting than the Oscars going on tonight. Well, photosynthesis is more interesting, but you know what I mean.

Anonymous and Wikileaks combined forces to leak over five million emails from “private CIA” company Stratfor. Anonymous has gone up against Stratfor before, but by routing the dox through Wikileaks they leverage a chain of media relationships and thus publicity that Anon alone could never reach. Said it before and I will, in fact, say it again: Wikileaks is a PR agency for documents. Wikileaks had a vested interest in this leak because over 4000 of the emails mention Julian Assange or Wikileaks.

Just when everyone thought they had become; a) irrelevant and b) preoccupied, Wikileaks comes out with a fatal stroke that, because of its more than 25 international media partnerships, is as instantly ubiquitous as it is effective.

On Monday February 27th, 2012, WikiLeaks began publishing The Global Intelligence Files, over five million e-mails from the Texas headquartered “global intelligence” company Stratfor. The e-mails date between July 2004 and late December 2011. They 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. The emails show Stratfor’s web of informers, pay-off structure, payment laundering techniques and psychological methods.

Did I say “fatal?” I sure as hell did. Take a gander at this document, a mere two hours old.

From: george.friedman@stratfor.com

To: fred.burton@stratfor.com

Subject: Draft

Date: 2012-02-26 19:02:07

It is with great personal disappointment I have to inform you that I will resign from my position as CEO for Stratfor to immediate effect.

Please rest assured that this decision was not an easy. But in the light of the recent events, especially the release of our company emails by WikiLeaks, I have decided that stepping down is in the best interest of Stratfor and its customer base.

I want to emphasize that this will have no effect on Stratfor’s business or its members and we will continue to provide state-of-the-art intelligence services.

Regarding the latest breach, Stratfor is fully in control of the situation However, while I cannot take any personal responsibility for this incident, I still have to admit that mistakes have been made on our side. To be clear: We certainly do not condone any criminal activities by groups like Anonymous or other hackers. This is theft and we will continue to cooperate with law enforcement to bring those responsible to justice. But we must acknowledge that this incident would not have been possible if Stratfor had implemented stronger data protection mechanisms – which will be the case from now on. Indeed we will immediately move to implement the latest, and most comprehensive, data security measures.

While I played no role in our technical operations, as the company’s CEO I do accept full responsibility thus will resign from my position effective immediately.

Again, my sincerest apologies for this whole unfortunate incident.

Sincerely,
George Friedman

Yes, George Friedman, former CEO of Stratfor, is officially Fried, if not Fired. That’s a neat trick, saying you can’t take any personal responsibility but that you do accept full responsibility; not to mention claiming to be fully in control of a situation where five million of your security company’s “secure” emails, many of them mortifying, have been released.

Mortifying? How about institutionalized bigotry and opportunistic, malevolent greed for starters, not to mention this high-level security company being shown up, repeatedly, on the security front. There are five million more emails to sift through, and a press conference coming up in a few hours. Who knows what lulz may come?

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5 thoughts on “The Epistle to the Stratforians

  1. Pingback: Afternoon Links: The Dictator Dumps Ashes on Ryan Seacrest

  2. I got on Stratfor’s mailing list a while back, I think it was to read one of their articles. Today they sent out the message copied below. I find it especially humorous that anyone would think email messages are “private property” that could be “stolen”. If you wouldn’t want your mother to read it aloud on tv, don’t put it on the internet in any form. I learned that long ago.

    ————————————————————————————
    I’m George Friedman, founder and CEO of Stratfor.

    As most of you know, in December thieves hacked into Stratfor data systems and stole a large number of company emails, as well as private information of Stratfor subscribers and friends. Today Wikileaks is publishing the emails that were stolen in December. This is a deplorable, unfortunate — and illegal — breach of privacy.

    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 questions about them.

    The disclosure of these emails does not mean that there has been another hack of Stratfor’s computer and data systems. Those systems, which we have rebuilt with enhanced security measures, remain secure and protected.

    The release of these emails is, however, a direct attack on Stratfor. This is another attempt to silence and intimidate the company, and one we reject. As you can see, emails sent to many people about my resignation were clearly forged.

    We do not know what else has been manufactured. Stratfor will not be silenced, and we will continue to publish the geopolitical analysis our friends and subscribers have come to rely on.

    As we have said before, Stratfor has worked to build good sources in many countries around the world, as any publisher of geopolitical analysis would do.

    We are proud of the relationships we have built, which help our analysts better understand the issues in many of these countries through the eyes of people who live there.

    We have developed these relationships with individuals and partnerships with local media in a straightforward manner, and we are committed to meeting the highest standards of professional and ethical conduct.

    Stratfor is not a government organization, not is it affiliated with any government. The emails are private property. Like all private emails, they were written casually, with no expectation that anyone other than the sender and recipient would ever see them. And clearly, as with my supposed resignation letter, some of the emails may be fabricated or altered.

    Stratfor understands that this hack and the fallout from it have created serious difficulties for our subscribers, friends and employees. We again apologize for this incident, and we deeply appreciate the loyalty that has been shown to Stratfor since last year’s hack.

    We want to assure everyone that Stratfor is recovering from the hack. We will continue to do what we do best: produce and publish independent analysis of international affairs. And we will be back in full operation in the coming weeks. We look forward to continuing to serve you.

  3. Thanks. There’s a great deal more to come on this. I have at least two articles to write for the http://DailyDot.com about it. Stratfor is dead meat, it just hasn’t keeled over yet. Who would hire a security company like that?

    We live in VERY interesting times. Back in June I wrote a post called Anon and On in which I said that Anonymous had big plans for the coming year, including reinventing government in North America, in more than just cosmetic terms. We’re about to enter that phase.

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  5. Pingback: George Friedman on Email Theft and the Wikileaks Release « This Day – One Day

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