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Wikileaks Starting to Turn Out Hacked Stratfor Emails

"What we have discovered is a company that is a private intelligence Enron."

LONDON (The Blaze/AP) -- WikiLeaks said Monday it was publishing a massive trove of leaked emails from the U.S. intelligence analysis firm Stratfor, shedding light on the inner workings of the Texas-based think tank.

The online anti-secrecy group said it had more than 5 million Stratfor emails and it was putting them out in collaboration with two dozen international media organizations. So far, however, only a small selection of the Stratfor emails appear to have been published to WikiLeaks' website.

"What we have discovered is a company that is a private intelligence Enron," WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told journalists at London's Frontline Club, a reference to the Texas energy giant whose spectacular bankruptcy turned it into a byword for corporate malfeasance.

Assange accused Stratfor of running a network of paid informants, monitoring activist groups on behalf of major multinationals and making investments based on its secret intelligence.

Here is some of what Wikileaks says of the Global Intelligence Files on its website:

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.

"[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" – CEO George Friedman to Stratfor analyst Reva Bhalla on 6 December 2011, on how to exploit an Israeli intelligence informant providing information on the medical condition of the President of Venezuala, Hugo Chavez.

The material contains privileged information about the US government’s attacks against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks and Stratfor’s own attempts to subvert WikiLeaks. There are more than 4,000 emails mentioning WikiLeaks or Julian Assange. The emails also expose the revolving door that operates in private intelligence companies in the United States. Government and diplomatic sources from around the world give Stratfor advance knowledge of global politics and events in exchange for money. The Global Intelligence Files exposes how Stratfor has recruited a global network of informants who are paid via Swiss banks accounts and pre-paid credit cards. Stratfor has a mix of covert and overt informants, which includes government employees, embassy staff and journalists around the world.

Stratfor rejected claims that there was anything improper in the way it handled its informants.

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

The Stratfor statement suggested the company wouldn't be commenting on Assange's other allegations.

"Having had our property stolen, we will not be victimized twice by submitting to questioning about them," the statement said.

The Austin, Texas-based Stratfor is a subscription-based publisher providing political, economic and military analysis to help customers reduce risk.

How WikiLeaks got its hands on the company's emails remains unclear, but Stratfor's statement said the messages appeared to be the same ones stolen by hackers over the Christmas holidays. The breach, claimed by the Internet activist group Anonymous, ravaged the company's servers and led to the disclosure of thousands of credit card numbers, among other information.

(Related: Stratfor customers can see if Anonymous hacked their info on this website)

Stratfor condemned the latest disclosure as "a deplorable, unfortunate -- and illegal -- breach of privacy."

The company also said its CEO, George Friedman, remained at the head of the company. An apparently bogus email circulating online had claimed that he had resigned.

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