Stratfor

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

Stratfor is an American geopolitics publisher and consultancy founded in 1996.[3] Stratfor's business model is to provide individual and enterprise subscriptions to Stratfor Worldview, its online publication, and to perform intelligence gathering[4] for corporate clients. The focus of Stratfor's content is security issues[5] and analyzing geopolitical risk.[6]

Stratfor was founded by George Friedman, who was the company's chairman. Chip Harmon[7] was appointed president in February 2018. Other executives include vice president of global analysis, Reva Goujon;[8] senior vice president of strategic analysis, Rodger Baker;[9] and former U.S. Special Operations Command officer Bret Boyd, vice president of custom intelligence services.[10]

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.[11][12][13]

Media coverage of their ideas about the 1998 bombing of Iraq brought Stratfor into the public eye.[14] At this time, the company had about twenty employees.[15] 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.[16] Stratfor often hires interns from the nearby University of Texas.[12]

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.[12][11]

Barron's once referred to Stratfor as "The Shadow CIA".[17] Barron's 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."[18] 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.[19]

Friedman resigned from the company in 2015 to launch a new company, Geopolitical Futures.[20]

Dun & Bradstreet's estimate of Stratfor's 2021 revenue is $11.61 million.[21]

Funding[edit]

In October 2015, Stratfor raised $12 million in funding through a growth equity investment by Dallas-based Teakwood Capital.[22] Stratfor planned to use the funds to expand its reporting networks, improve operational infrastructure and move into new markets.[16]

Products[edit]

Stratfor bills itself as a geopolitical intelligence platform, with revenues derived from individual and enterprise subscriptions to Stratfor Worldview, its online publication, and from corporate consulting.

Stratfor has published a daily intelligence briefing since its inception in 1996. Before the end of 1999, 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, free to the public.

Stratfor's publishing business includes written and multimedia analysis available online via web browser or through an API, as well as iPhone and Android mobile applications.[23] 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.[24] Several older articles are freely available as teaser content.

Books[edit]

Stratfor has published collections of analysis in paperback and as e-books on a variety of topics. Topics include user guides to personal security,[25] the "devolution of jihadism," and the U.S. war in Afghanistan, according to a series of promotional videos on the company's YouTube channel. Stratfor sells their e-books and reports on their website.

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, 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."[26]

Leaks[edit]

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.[27] Their email system may have also been compromised.[28]

In November 2013, computer hacker Jeremy Hammond was sentenced to ten years in federal prison for his role in the Anonymous attack.[29] 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.[30]

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.[31] Anonymous said it had leaked the emails to WikiLeaks.[32] 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.[33][dead link] Stratfor condemned the release.[34][dead link]

Events[edit]

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.[35] 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.[35]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stratfor. "RANE Acquires Geopolitical Intelligence Platform Stratfor". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved 2020-11-29.
  2. ^ Bureau, E. T. (2020-02-05). "RANE Acquires Geopolitical Intelligence Platform Stratfor". EnterpriseTalk. Retrieved 2020-11-29.
  3. ^ 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
  4. ^ 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
  5. ^ 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
  6. ^ 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
  7. ^ "Stratfor Appoints Chip Harmon as President to Lead Next Phase of Growth" (Press release). Stratfor. Retrieved 2018-03-01.
  8. ^ "Reva Goujon". www.stratfor.com.
  9. ^ "Rodger Baker". www.stratfor.com.
  10. ^ Boyd, Bret. "Bret Boyd" (Vice President of Custom Intelligence Services). Stratfor. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  11. ^ a b Hastings, Michael (28 February 2012). "WikiLeaks Stratfor Emails: A Secret Indictment Against Julian Assange?". RollingStone. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ Vinograd, Cassandra; Satter, Raphael (28 February 2012). "WikiLeaks publishes leaked Stratfor emails". Yahoo. AP. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  14. ^ 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.'
  15. ^ Hall, Michael (1999). "The Spying Game". Texas Monthly. Retrieved 2021-07-05.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ 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)
  18. ^ Laing, Jonathan (16 August 2014). "Putin's Big Miscalculation". Barrons. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
  19. ^ Fallows, James (June 24, 2014). "Stratfor on American Grand Strategy in Iraq and Ukraine". Atlantic. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  20. ^ Pope, Colin (December 3, 2015). "Stratfor Founder George Friedman Starts Media Business," Austin Business Journal.
  21. ^ "Stratfor Enterprises, LLC". D&B Business Directory. Dun & Bradstreet. Retrieved 2021-07-05.
  22. ^ Calnan, Christopher (22 October 2015). "Austin security firm raises $12M, plans C-suite hire". Austin Business Journal. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  23. ^ "Stratfor products". Archived from the original on September 27, 2009.
  24. ^ "Stratfor Launches Worldview, Revolutionizes Access to Geopolitical Intelligence, Analysis and Forecasting". Marketwired. April 26, 2017.
  25. ^ Cofall, Dan (April 19, 2010). "The Wall Street Shuffle". NorAm Asset Management. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  26. ^ 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.
  27. ^ 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.
  28. ^ "Anonymous Claims Hack of Credit Data From Security Group". Wall Street Journal. December 25, 2011. Archived from the original on December 26, 2011.
  29. ^ Kopfstein, Janus (21 November 2013). "Hacker with a Cause". The New Yorker. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  30. ^ Pilkington, Ed (May 27, 2014). "LulzSec hacker 'Sabu' released after 'extraordinary' FBI cooperation". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  31. ^ "The Global Intelligence Files". WikiLeaks. February 27, 2012.
  32. ^ Andy Greenberg. "WikiLeaks Tightens Ties To Anonymous In Leak Of Stratfor Emails". Forbes. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
  33. ^ "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 [...]
  34. ^ "George Friedman on Email Theft and the WikiLeaks Release". Stratfor. February 28, 2012.
  35. ^ a b Dockery, Carolyn. "2017 Texas National Security Forum". www.strausscenter.org. Archived from the original on 2018-05-03. Retrieved 2018-05-02.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]