Stratfor Leak

Wikileaks has released a series of documents allegedly originating from the Stratfor an intelligence agency. According to wikileaks the documents are supposed to reveal practices of corruption and bribery used by the company. Most of the documents haven’t been leaked yet, but it will be significant. How Stratfor will be affected will become more apparent in the next while, just as important is the impact it will have on their informants, government employees and people high up who give stratfor the information. While the impact remains to be seen I have been enjoying one of the leaked documents: “The Stratfor Glossary of Useful, Baffling and Strange Intelligence Terms” a primer on terms used within Stratfor. I want to share some of the more amusing terms, from here on out it will be snippets of the document:

Background Check: Check of history of someone to determine reliability. Usually meaningless. A perfect credit rating does not mean you aren’t devious scum. Does run up the client’s bill and makes it appear that you are busy.

Backgrounder: General analysis that gives the customer better situational awareness. The customer never actually reads the Backgrounder. Its primary use is as cover when the customer screws something up. Backgrounders are the basic intelligence tool for shifting blame to the customer.

Barium Meal: When there is a leak, feed bits of radioactive (traceable, false) information to suspects. See which bit leaks. You will know who leaked it. The leaker will know you know. Livens up a dull day like nothing else we’ve ever seen. Bring the kids.

Board: When an op gets so badly blown that pretending everything is fine will no longer work, you get a Board. A Board consists of 3 or more WOGs whose job it is to make sure that only you are blamed for what happened. Pulling a board is bad. At Stratfor, it involves talking to David, George or Don. If all three at the same time, very bad. Time to consider an exciting career in the food service industry.

Brief the Times: When the Briefer has obtained zero valuable intelligence from analysis, he finds something in the inside of the morning paper, powers up a view graph, and “Briefs the Times.” Customers are frequently impressed. It’s a hoot.

Businessman: A source that does what he does for money. Businessmen will sell out to the highest bidder so are considered temporary employees. You must find a way to make them scared shitless of you. A high SS quotient is the foundation of a warm, lasting relationship with a Businessman.

CIA Appetite/Botswana budget: A customer with limited resources asking for enormous amounts of intelligence. Defines most of Stratfor’s customers.

Coerced source: Someone who is a source because you have him by the balls. The most rare and prized variety of source. The key here is to make sure that the source thinks that working for you makes more sense than shooting you. Keep an extremely close eye on changing moods.

Contractor: A source that has been placed under contract by the intelligence organization. The contract spells out what he gets, when he gets it, what he must deliver, and where he will find various parts of his body if he jerks you around. The contractor can work for $50 a month or $5 million a year.

Cutout:  To facilitate security and deniability, many ops use cut-outs. These are individuals who manage sources. Ideally, they do not know the organization they are working for. They know only the person they report to—someone who can disappear without a trace if need be, leaving the cut-out hosed. Very nasty thing to do to your own people. That’s why you use contractors. If you are using your own person, make sure that he can disengage without a trace. And make sure he isn’t in love with one of his sources—literally.

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