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Stratfor Enterprises, LLC
Founded1996 (1996)
FounderGeorge Friedman
HeadquartersAustin, U.S.
Key people
  • Worldview
  • Threat Lens
Revenue~US$10M (2021 est.)
Number of employees
~100 (2016)
ParentRane Corporation[1][2] Edit this at Wikidata

Strategic Forecasting Inc.[3], commonly known as Stratfor, is an American strategic intelligence publishing company founded in 1996.[4] Stratfor's business model is to provide individual and enterprise subscriptions to Stratfor Worldview, its online publication, and to perform intelligence gathering[5] for corporate clients. The focus of Stratfor's content is security issues[6] and analyzing geopolitical risk.[7]


The origin of Stratfor can be traced to the Center for Geopolitical Studies (CGPS) at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. There, Professors George Friedman and Leonard Hochberg built a team that researched geopolitics, built wargaming simulations, and advised companies on geopolitical risks and opportunities.[citation needed]

The company was founded in 1996 and named Strategic Forecasting (Stratfor) by lead analyst Matthew S. Baker. It was moved to Austin in August 1997 with seven members of the CGPS team who served as part of the co-founding team along with founder George Friedman.[citation needed]

George served as the head of analysis for the organization, and the business was led by several CEOs in the late 1990s and early 2000s as it refined its offerings. Chip Harmon[8] was appointed president in February 2018.

Stratfor was acquired by RANE in 2020. [9]

Structure and operations[edit]

Stratfor clients have included academic institutions, investment firms, and large corporations such as Lockheed Martin, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, and Dow Chemical Company.[10][11][12]

Media coverage of their ideas about the 1998 bombing of Iraq brought Stratfor into the public eye.[13] At this time, the company had about twenty employees.[14] By 2008 they were up to 40 full-time employees in Austin. 2016 saw the number rise to about 100, three-quarters of whom were based in Austin.[15] Stratfor often hired and trained interns from the nearby University of Texas.[11]

Stratfor analysts pay for information, but also use open source information to predict where global crises will arise. Stratfor also obtains information by way of personal networks. Fred Burton indicated in leaked emails that he maintained contact with his "trusted former CIA cronies" as a source of information, and that he was aware of the sealed indictment against Julian Assange in 2011.[11][10][16] Barron's Jonathan Laing has called Stratfor founder George Friedman "one of our favorite experts on geopolitics," saying, "His judgments tend to be more nuanced and long-term than those of the press or Wall Street."[17] More recently, The Atlantic's James Fallows referenced a Stratfor article on U.S. strategy in Iraq and Ukraine, following outbreaks of turmoil in those regions.[18]

Friedman resigned from the company in 2015 to launch a new company, Geopolitical Futures.[19]

Dun & Bradstreet's estimate of Stratfor's 2021 revenue is $11.61 million.[20]


In October 2015, Stratfor raised $12 million in funding through a growth equity investment by Dallas-based Teakwood Capital.[21] Stratfor planned to use the funds to expand its reporting networks, improve operational infrastructure and move into new markets.[15]


In April 2017, the company launched its core online publication under the name Stratfor Worldview.[22]


Kamran Bokhari, Stratfor's former vice president for Middle East and South Asian affairs, co-wrote Political Islam in the Age of Democratization (2013). Reviewer Amani el Sehrawey called the book "an invaluable tool for those seeking to gain knowledge of the nuances of the political systems of the Muslim world from a historical perspective, as well as to understand the contemporary changes happening in the region."[23]


2011 hacking incident[edit]

On December 24, 2011, Stratfor's website was hacked. Anonymous claimed responsibility, and also posted data they claim was taken from Stratfor, including credit card details, passwords, and addresses of Stratfor clients.[24] Their email system was also compromised.[25]

In November 2013, computer hacker Jeremy Hammond was sentenced to ten years in federal prison for his role in the Anonymous attack.[26] An FBI informant, Hector Xavier Monsegur (also known as "Sabu"), initially faced 124 years in prison for his role in the attack, but his sentence was reduced to time served plus one year's supervised release in May 2014 in exchange for his cooperation as an FBI informant.[27]

2012 leak[edit]

WikiLeaks announced the initial publication of more than five million of Stratfor's e-mail messages on February 26, 2012, under the name Global Intelligence Files.[28] Anonymous said it had leaked the emails to WikiLeaks.[29] George Friedman stated that third parties may have forged or altered the e-mail messages, but that Stratfor would not validate either alterations or authenticity.[30] Stratfor condemned the release.[31]


In October 2017, Stratfor sponsored the 2017 Texas National Security Forum organized by Clements Center for National Security, the Robert Strauss Center for International Security and Law, and the Intelligence Studies Project at the University of Texas at Austin.[32] The theme was "Alliances and Partnerships in American National Security." The event included a keynote address by Michael Pompeo, then director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and later U.S. Secretary of State. Stratfor Chief Security Officer Fred Burton moderated a panel that included former acting director of Central Intelligence John McLaughlin and former acting director of the Defense Intelligence Agency David Shedd.[32]


  1. ^ Stratfor. "RANE Acquires Geopolitical Intelligence Platform Stratfor". (Press release). Retrieved 2020-11-29.
  2. ^ Bureau, E. T. (2020-02-05). "RANE Acquires Geopolitical Intelligence Platform Stratfor". EnterpriseTalk. Retrieved 2020-11-29.
  3. ^ "Stratfor to settle class action suit over hack". Reuters. 2012-06-28. Retrieved 2022-09-13.
  4. ^ Perlroth, Nicole (2011-12-26). "Hackers Breach the Web Site of Stratfor Global Intelligence". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-11-29. Stratfor Global Intelligence Service, a company based in Austin, Tex., that analyzes geopolitical risk
  5. ^ Chatterjee, Pratap (2012-02-28). "WikiLeaks' Stratfor dump lifts lid on intelligence-industrial complex". Guardian. Retrieved 2020-11-29. WikiLeaks' latest release, of hacked emails from Stratfor, shines light on the murky world of private intelligence-gathering
  6. ^ Perlroth, Nicole (2011-12-26). "Hackers Breach the Web Site of Stratfor Global Intelligence (Published 2011)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-11-29. a United States research group that puts out a daily newsletter on security issues
  7. ^ Perlroth, Nicole (2012-03-12). "Inside the Stratfor Attack". Bits Blog. Retrieved 2020-11-29. Stratfor Global Intelligence Service, a company based in Austin, Tex., that analyzes geopolitical risk
  8. ^ "Stratfor Appoints Chip Harmon as President to Lead Next Phase of Growth" (Press release). Stratfor. Retrieved 2018-03-01.
  9. ^ "RANE Acquires Geopolitical Intelligence Platform Stratfor" (Press release).
  10. ^ a b Hastings, Michael (28 February 2012). "WikiLeaks Stratfor Emails: A Secret Indictment Against Julian Assange?". RollingStone. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  11. ^ a b c Weber, Paul J.; Satter, Raphael (28 February 2012). "Leaked emails shine rare light on Stratfor". NBC News. AP. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  12. ^ Vinograd, Cassandra; Satter, Raphael (28 February 2012). "WikiLeaks publishes leaked Stratfor emails". Yahoo. AP. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  13. ^ Fisher, Max (2012-02-22). "Stratfor Is a Joke and So Is Wikileaks for Taking It Seriously". Atlantic. Retrieved 2021-07-05. . . . Stratfor's first big break had come in 1999 with a spate of glowing articles such as this January piece in Time, which reported Stratfor's 'striking' theory that the U.S. bombing of Iraq in December 1998 was 'actually designed to mask a failed U.S.-backed coup.'
  14. ^ Hall, Michael (1999). "The Spying Game". Texas Monthly. Retrieved 2021-07-05.
  15. ^ a b Grisales, Claudia (25 September 2018) [21 October 2015 (stated as 4 September 2016)]. "Austin's Stratfor raises $12 million to fund growth". Austin American-Statesman. Archived from the original on 23 October 2015. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  16. ^ Laing, Jonathan R. (October 15, 2001). "The Shadow CIA". Barron's magazine. Retrieved December 19, 2010. (read complete article Archived 2011-06-01 at the Wayback Machine)
  17. ^ Laing, Jonathan (16 August 2014). "Putin's Big Miscalculation". Barrons. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
  18. ^ Fallows, James (June 24, 2014). "Stratfor on American Grand Strategy in Iraq and Ukraine". Atlantic. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  19. ^ Pope, Colin (December 3, 2015). "Stratfor Founder George Friedman Starts Media Business," Austin Business Journal.
  20. ^ "Stratfor Enterprises, LLC". D&B Business Directory. Dun & Bradstreet. Retrieved 2021-07-05.
  21. ^ Calnan, Christopher (22 October 2015). "Austin security firm raises $12M, plans C-suite hire". Austin Business Journal. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  22. ^ "Stratfor Launches Worldview, Revolutionizes Access to Geopolitical Intelligence, Analysis and Forecasting". Marketwired. April 26, 2017.
  23. ^ El Sehrawey, Amani (2 March 2014). "Book Review: Political Islam in the Age of Democratization by Kamran Bokhari and Farid Senzai". European Politics and Policy. London School of Economics and Political Science. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  24. ^ Perlroth, Nicole (2011-12-26). "Hackers Breach the Web Site of Stratfor Global Intelligence (Published 2011)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-11-29. The hackers posted a list online that they say contains Stratfor's confidential client list as well as credit card details, passwords and home addresses for some 4,000 Stratfor clients. The hackers also said they had details for more than 90,000 credit card accounts.
  25. ^ "Anonymous Claims Hack of Credit Data From Security Group". Wall Street Journal. December 25, 2011. Archived from the original on December 26, 2011.
  26. ^ Kopfstein, Janus (21 November 2013). "Hacker with a Cause". The New Yorker. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  27. ^ Pilkington, Ed (May 27, 2014). "LulzSec hacker 'Sabu' released after 'extraordinary' FBI cooperation". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  28. ^ "The Global Intelligence Files". WikiLeaks. February 27, 2012.
  29. ^ Andy Greenberg. "WikiLeaks Tightens Ties To Anonymous In Leak Of Stratfor Emails". Forbes. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
  30. ^ "George Friedman on Email Theft and the WikiLeaks Release". Stratfor. February 28, 2012. Archived from the original on February 10, 2012. Some of the emails may be forged or altered to include inaccuracies. Some may be authentic. We will not validate either [...]
  31. ^ "George Friedman on Email Theft and the WikiLeaks Release". Stratfor. February 28, 2012. Archived from the original on January 13, 2012.
  32. ^ a b Dockery, Carolyn. "2017 Texas National Security Forum". Archived from the original on 2018-05-03. Retrieved 2018-05-02.

Further reading[edit]

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