Notorious data liberator WikiLeaks has announced that, starting today, it will begin publishing more than five million emails from US global security intelligence firm Strategic Forecasting Inc. (Stratfor) that were reportedly obtained by the Anonymous community. While WikiLeaks has not disclosed the source of the documents, Anonymous — now popularly known for its website-crashing and "hacktivist" antics — appears to have taken responsibility for obtaining the documents from Stratfor.
We noticed some Stratfor´s heads rolling. Just 2 hours. New record! #GIFiles— AnonOps (@anonops) February 27, 2012
Stratfor describes itself as a geopolitical analysis provider with an intelligence-based approach to gathering information and "a global network of human sources" — but WikiLeaks says that its methods are less than agreeable. WikiLeaks says that "the emails show Stratfor's web of informers, pay-off structure, payment-laundering techniques and psychological methods," and that they "expose the revolving door that operates in private intelligence companies in the United States." In its own early-morning press release, Stratfor has confirmed the theft, calling it a "deplorable, unfortunate — and illegal — breach of privacy." It also says that the emails may be forged or authentic, but that it will not validate either.
Both WikiLeaks and Anonymous appear to be be of increasing concern to the US government, and this latest supposed intersection of the groups may only serve to escalate antagonism from law enforcement and intelligence agencies. In the past week, the US National Security Agency (NSA) started readying the war drums against Anonymous by reportedly warning that the group could gain the ability to attack power infrastructure within the next two years. But at least for now, it seems that the nebulous group is simply content to embarrass the agencies that have been taking Anonymous rather seriously.