International whistle-blowing Web site WikiLeaks has begun publishing confidential e-mails from a U.S.-based global intelligence company, Strategic Forecasting Inc. (Stratfor). According to details on its site, WikiLeaks is in possession of more than 5 million such electronic documents.
The site has, according to The Guardian, released 167 e-mails in its opening salvo. The mails were apparently obtained by hacker activist group Anonymous. The e-mails are dated between July 2004 and December 2011.
"To clarify to all journalists - YES, #Anonymous gave the STRATFOR emails obtained in the 2011 LulzXmas hack to WikiLeaks," said a tweet from Anonymous, some 6 hours ago.
The e-mails are believed to show Stratfor's web of informers, pay-off structure, payment-laundering techniques and psychological interrogation methods, CNET reports. Furthermore, the WikiLeaks press release suggests that the material from the email shows how a private intelligence agency works and how they target individuals for their corporate and government clients.
"Here we have a private intelligence firm, relying on informants from the U.S. 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," said WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, in a Reuters report.
An example of the kind of content in the e-mails, in this extract from the WikiLeaks press release:
"[Y]ou have to take control of him. Control means financial, sexual or psychological control... This is intended to start our conversation on your next phase" - Stratfor's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and founder, George Friedman, to Stratfor analyst Reva Bhalla on Dec. 6, on how to exploit an Israeli intelligence informant providing information on the medical condition of the President of Venezuala, Hugo Chavez.
Meanwhile, Friedman reportedly warned the world on Jan. 11 that e-mails were being stolen. However, he added the hacker 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," George Friedman was quoted as saying by Reuters.