|Headquarters||Austin, Texas, U.S.|
|Chip Harmon (President and CEO)|
Fred Burton (VP Intelligence)
|Products||strategic intelligence, business intelligence, custom intelligence, written and multimedia analysis, corporate security analysis, risk mitigation|
Number of employees
Stratfor is an American geopolitical intelligence platform and publisher founded in 1996 in Austin, Texas, by George Friedman, who was the company's chairman. Chip Harmon was appointed president in February 2018. Fred Burton is Stratfor's chief security officer.
Other executives include vice president of global analysis, Reva Goujon, senior vice president of strategic analysis, Rodger Baker former U.S. Special Operations Command officer Bret Boyd, vice president of custom intelligence services.
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Stratfor bills itself as a geopolitical intelligence platform, with revenues derived from individual and enterprise subscriptions to Stratfor Worldview, its online publication, and from custom advisory work for corporate clients.
Stratfor has published a daily intelligence briefing since its inception in 1996. Its rise to prominence occurred with the release of its Kosovo Crisis Center during the 1999 NATO airstrikes over Kosovo, which led to publicity in Time magazine, Texas Monthly, and other publications. Before the end of 1999, however, Stratfor had introduced a subscription service through which it offered the majority of its analyses. At the time of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Stratfor made its "breaking news" paragraphs, as well as some notable analyses predicting likely actions to be taken by al-Qaeda and the Bush administration, available freely to the public.
Stratfor's publishing business includes written and multimedia analysis available online or through an API, as well as iPhone and Android mobile applications. Stratfor Threat Lens, an enterprise level product launched in September 2016, offers specific insight and analysis to support corporate security leaders. In April 2017, the company launched its core online publication under the name Stratfor Worldview. Some of Stratfor's work remains available free to the public.
Books and media
Stratfor has published collections of analysis in paperback and as e-books on a variety of topics. Topics include user guides to personal security, the "devolution of jihadism," and the U.S. war in Afghanistan, according to a series of promotional videos on the company's YouTube channel. Apparently, at one point, the books were sold through a storefront on the company's website. Stratfor e-books and long form analyses are now available through a dedicated, on-site store.
A number of the company's top analysts have published books in their own name. Notable among these are founder George Friedman and vice president for intelligence Fred Burton. Kamran Bokhari, Stratfor's former vice president for Middle East and South Asian affairs, is the author (with Farid Senzai) of Political Islam in the Age of Democratization (Palgrave Macmillan, 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."
Barron's once referred to Stratfor as "The Shadow CIA". Barrons' Jonathan Laing has called 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." 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.
Friedman resigned from the company in 2015 to launch a new company, Geopolitical Futures.
The member and client list for Stratfor is confidential, but the company says it includes Fortune 500 companies, universities and international government agencies as well as professionals who purchase an individual membership.
In October 2015, Stratfor raised $12 million in funding through a growth equity investment by Dallas-based Teakwood Capital. Stratfor's plan for the funding includes expanding its intelligence networks, enhancing operational infrastructure and moving into frontier markets.
Structure and operations
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.
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. 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.
2011 hacking incident
It was reported on December 24, 2011 that members of Anonymous had stolen e-mail messages from Stratfor's website. In November 2013, computer hacker Jeremy Hammond was sentenced to ten years in federal prison for his role in the Anonymous attack. 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.
WikiLeaks announced the initial publication of more than five million of Stratfor's e-mail messages on February 26, 2012. Anonymous claimed to have provided WikiLeaks with the data. 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. Stratfor condemned the release as "deplorable".
- 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.
- "Stratfor Appoints Chip Harmon as President to Lead Next Phase of Growth" (Press release). Stratfor. Retrieved 2018-03-01.
- "Reva Goujon". www.stratfor.com.
- "Rodger Baker". www.stratfor.com.
- Boyd, Bret. "Bret Boyd" (Vice President of Custom Intelligence Services). Stratfor. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
- "Spies Like Us", Time, January 25, 1999
- "Stratfor products". Archived from the original on September 27, 2009.
- "Stratfor Launches Worldview, Revolutionizes Access to Geopolitical Intelligence, Analysis and Forecasting". Marketwired. April 26, 2017.
- "Stratfor's Free Intelligence Reports". Stratfor. Retrieved June 29, 2013.
- Cofall, Dan (April 19, 2010). "The Wall Street Shuffle". NorAm Asset Management. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
- El Sehrawey, Amani. "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.
- 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)
- Laing, Jonathan (16 August 2014). "Putin's Big Miscalculation". Barrons. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
- Fallows, James (June 24, 2014). "Stratfor on American Grand Strategy in Iraq and Ukraine". National correspondent. The Atlantic. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
- Pope, Colin (December 3, 2015). "Stratfor Founder George Friedman Starts Media Business," Austin Business Journal.
- "About Stratfor". Stratfor. Retrieved 2018-04-20.
- Calnan, Christopher (22 October 2015). "Austin security firm raises $12M, plans C-suite hire". Austin Business Journal. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
- Hastings, Michael (28 February 2012). "WikiLeaks Stratfor Emails: A Secret Indictment Against Julian Assange?". RollingStone. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
- Weber, Paul J.; Satter, Raphael (28 February 2012). "Leaked emails shine rare light on Stratfor". NBC News. AP. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
- Vinograd, Cassandra; Satter, Raphael (28 February 2012). "WikiLeaks publishes leaked Stratfor emails". Yahoo. AP. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
- Dockery, Carolyn. "2017 Texas National Security Forum". www.strausscenter.org. Retrieved 2018-05-02.
- "Anonymous Claims Hack of Credit Data From Security Group". Wall Street Journal. December 25, 2011. Archived from the original on December 26, 2011.
- Kopfstein, Janus (21 November 2013). "Hacker with a Cause". The New Yorker. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
- Pilkington, Ed (May 27, 2014). "LulzSec hacker 'Sabu' released after 'extraordinary' FBI cooperation". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
- "The Global Intelligence Files". WikiLeaks. February 27, 2012.
- Andy Greenberg. "WikiLeaks Tightens Ties To Anonymous In Leak Of Stratfor Emails". Forbes. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
"George Friedman on Email Theft and the WikiLeaks Release". Stratfor. February 28, 2012.
Some of the emails may be forged or altered to include inaccuracies. Some may be authentic. We will not validate either [...]
- "George Friedman on Email Theft and the WikiLeaks Release". Stratfor. February 28, 2012.
- Friedman, George (2005). America's secret war: inside the hidden worldwide struggle between the United States and its enemies. Random House. ISBN 978-0-7679-1785-8.
- Friedman, George, Torture and the U.S. Intelligence Failure, Stratfor, Geopolitical Weekly, April 20, 2009
- Judson, David, Geopolitical Intelligence, Political Journalism and "Wants" vs. "Needs", Stratfor, October 29, 2013
- Judson, David, Stratfor: The Test of Being a Rorschach Test, Stratfor Worldview, On Stratfor, August 28, 2016
- Judson, David, With a New Generation Comes a New Worldview, Stratfor Worldview, On Stratfor, May 21, 2017