WikiLeaks Partners With Anonymous to Spill Millions of Security Firm’s E-mails

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Julian Assange. Photo: Oli Scarff/2011 Getty Images

WikiLeaks is back at it, this time and for the first time with the assistance of global hacker group Anonymous.

On Monday, the whistle-blowing group led by 40-year-old Australian Julian Assange began to release "millions" of e-mails from Austin, Texas-based global security think tank Strategic Forecasting Inc (Stratfor) collectively called "The Global Intelligence Files." Stratfor describes itself as "a subscription-based provider of geopolitical analysis." Anonymous obtained the files and handed them over to WikiLeaks because "the site was more capable of analyzing and spreading the leaked information than Anonymous would be," an Anonymous insider told Wired.

The Wired source continued on the relationship:

"WikiLeaks has great means to publish and disclose. Also, they work together with media in a way we don’t.”

“Basically, WL is the ideal partner for such stuff,” the anon continued. “Antisec acquires the shit, WL gets it released in a proper manner.” Antisec is the arm of Anonymous that is known for hacking into servers.

And although this joint venture had trying moments, regular collaborations may be in the works.

WikiLeaks' press release describes the substance of this massive disclosure:

The emails date from 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 Defense Intelligence Agency.

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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's computers were hacked at least two times last December, purportedly by Anonymous, at which time the credit card information of thousands of Stratfor subscribers, including Henry Kissinger and Dan Quayle, was released. With Stratfor's cooperation, the FBI is already investigating that incident.

Stratfor's founder and CEO George Friedman has represented that he's not concerned with the leak. "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."

WikiLeaks says that it partnered with more than 25 media organizations, which it refers to as "public partners in the investigation," to publish and inform readers about the documents. McClatchy and Rolling Stone are the only U.S.-based publications on the roster.