|WikiLeaks previously released files on the Iraq and Afhganistan wars as well as a stash of diplomatic cables [AFP]
US private intelligence firm Stratfor has denounced the publication of stolen emails by WikiLeaks and said it would not comment on the content of the messages.
WikiLeaks began publishing on Monday more than five million emails that were stolen from the Austin, Texas-based Stratfor by members of the hacker group, Anonymous, in December.
According to WikiLeaks, the emails date from July 2004 to December 2011 and reveal Stratfor's links to large corporations, such as Dow Chemical Co. and Lockheed Martin, and US government agencies, including the homeland security department, the Marines Corps and the Defence Intelligence Agency.
"This is a deplorable, unfortunate - and illegal - breach of privacy," Stratfor said in a statement.
"Some of the emails may be forged or altered to include inaccuracies; some may be authentic,. We will not validate either.
"Nor will we explain the thinking that went into them.
"Having had our property stolen, we will not be victimised twice by submitting to questioning about them. As with last year's hack, the release of these emails is a direct attack on Stratfor."
Some of the emails being published "may be forged or altered to include inaccuracies; some may be authentic", Stratfor statement said.
Ironically, one of the leaked e-mails shows that Stratfor was eager to profit from WikiLeaks’ Afghanistan disclosures:
"[Is it] possible for us to get some of that ’leak-focused’ gravy train ? This is an obvious fear sale, so that’s a good thing. And we have something to offer that the IT security companies don’t, mainly our focus on counter-intelligence and surveillance... Could we develop some ideas and procedures on the idea of ´leak-focused’ network security that focuses on preventing one’s own employees from leaking sensitive information "
The company stressed that it is "not a government organisation, nor is it affiliated with any government.
"The emails are private property. Like all private emails, they were written casually, with no expectation anyone other than the sender and recipient would ever see them. They should be read as such".
Difficulties for clients
Stratfor said the hacking and the fallout for it "including the disclosure by WikiLeaks" have created difficulties for its clients and employees.
The emails, snatched by hackers, could unmask sensitive sources and throw light on the murky world of intelligence-gathering by the company known as Stratfor, which counts Fortune 500 companies among its subscribers.
Hackers linked to the loosely organised Anonymous hackers group said at the beginning of the year they had stolen the
email correspondence of some 100 of the firm's employees.
The group said it planned to publish the data so the public would know the "truth" about Stratfor operations.
WikiLeaks and Anonymous maintain the emails will expose dark secrets about the company. Stratfor said in its statement it had worked hard to build "good sources" in many countries, "as any publisher of global geopolitical analysis would do".