STRATFOR On DHS Failings, Wikileaks and Bradley Manning

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This is meant to be an interesting insight into what the intelligence services (mainly STRATFOR along with their contacts in other agencies) are discussing on topics that are in the news. All information posted below is my own personal take on some of the interesting emails that were leaked to Wikileaks. The emails in question are from 2010 onwards and certain internal situations may have changed since.

Original emails will be referenced inside brackets ( )

Very brief description for parties discussed:

STRATFOR ~ Founded in 1996 by George Friedman who is the founder, chief intelligence officer, and CEO of the company which is located in Austin, Texas. (US) The companies vice president for Counterterrorism and Corporate Security is Fred Burton (arguably the most colourful of STRATFOR’s staff and the author of Chasing Shadows) who is considered “one of the world’s foremost experts on security, terrorists and terrorist organizations. STRATFOR is viewed as being ‘The Shadow CIA’ and is one of the most trusted sources for global intelligence gathering.

DHS ~ Formed on November 25th 2002 as a response to the 9/11 attacks that took place in New York on September 11th 2001. They employ over 240,000 staff and as of 2012 have an annual budget of US$60.4 billion. They are currently located at the Nebraska Avenue Complex in Washington DC, but put forward a $4.1 billion plan to Congress to consolidate its 60-plus Washington-area offices into a single headquarters complex at the St. Elizabeths Hospital campus in Anacostia, Southeast Washington, D.C. The earliest DHS would begin moving to St. Elizabeth’s is 2012. Janet Napolitano heads DHS as Secretary and is the fourth person to do so since its inception.

Wikileaks~ The site was first registered with GoDaddy on 4th October 2006 and is a not-for-profit media organisation whose goal is to try improve the transparency of world governments in order to create a better society for all people. Wikileaks is infamous for the publishing of many secret government documents and databases, allowing the public to know more about the world in which they live. Julian Assange is without a doubt the face of Wikileaks and is also generally recognised as the founder of the site. Mr Assange is also wanted for extradition to the States to face charges of making public classified government documents (US Diplomatic Cables) He is also wanted in Sweden to face questions involving the alleged rape and sexual assault, something that he hasn’t actually been charged for but is seen by most as a ploy by the US government to have Sweden extradite him to the US (being that the US still have the death penalty, this hopefully will not happen) who allegedly had a sealed indictment on Assange for a while now. Mr Assange has stated that he is willing to stand trial in Sweden as long as there are assurances that he won’t be extradited to the US. He is currently staying at the Ecuadorian embassy in London (UK) as the UK government are determined to extradite his to Sweden. The UK government has also issued a threat to Ecuador that they would invade the embassy in order to grab Assange. Wikileaks is credited with the disclosure of some very big leaks including documents on the Afghan War, classified documents on the Guantánamo Bay detention camp, US Diplomatic Cables (allegedly leaked by Bradley Manning) through to the biggest release in 2011 which consisted of just over 5 million emails from STRATFOR (Global Intelligence Files). The STRATFOR files were leaked to Wikileaks after LulzSec hacked STRATFOR on December 24th 2011. The attack was led by Sabu who was working for the FBI at the time of the attack as an informant. Being that Sabu was under a constant watch by the FBI with all computer activity being monitored 24/7, one has to assume that the FBI were fully aware of the attack.

Bradley Manning ~ Private First Class Bradley Manning is alleged to be the person to have leaked the US Diplomatic Cables to Wikileaks. The cables consisted of 250,000 diplomatic cables and 500,000 Army reports. The Army logs are better known as the  Iraq War logs and Afghan War logs. So far Bradley Manning has been held for 817 days without trial (the legal limit is 120 days) and there are also very disturbing reports that he was mistreated during this time. In December 2010, the UN said that they were going to investigating a complaint on behalf of Bradley Manning that he is being mistreated. Manning has served with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division since joining the service in 2007. There remains quite a bit of confusion/ suspicion as to just how someone of his rank was granted access to such documents in the first place.


STRATFOR on DHS Failings and inadequacies

If there is one thing that is fairly consistent in the STRATFOR emails, it is the overall negative feeling against the ability of the Department of Home Security (DHS) and their ability to perform the tasks on which they were formed. Being that STRATFOR are viewed by many as extremely reliable in their intelligence gathering and analytics, their views on the DHS are worrying. There seems to be the overall tone that the DHS are more governed by political agenda rather that what need to be done to prevent the threat of terrorism.

Via Fred Burton (3546952)

DHS is an absolute nightmare from my perspective. Totally irrelevant to the legacy agencies who continue their work unabated in the field. Meanwhile back at DHS HQ, it’s a constant turnover of politically connected wanna be insiders. Imagine the Agency or FBI, that turned over personnel at the highest levels of the organization every 18 mos to 2 years – that in and of itself is a formula for disaster, the legacy agencies issue notwithstanding. They are also looking to the state fusion centers they pour millions of $ into, to be their de facto field offices. The fusion centers are often tasked by DHS central planning with briefing the state and locals on “non-specific threats” (like the one we are looking at now), one step ahead of the FBI if possible. It is freaking amature hour.

Mr Burton also makes reference to Janet Napolitano’s hands being effectively tied by the White House regarding domestic threats, specifically the Ft. Hood shooting that took place on November 5th (1211585)

The White House told Nancy Pelosi not to allow the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee to hold hearings into the domestic plots and attacks, specifically the Ft. Hood shooting.

The culprit is believed to be Holder.

Holder sat on the request for the FBI to respond to Ft. Hood, which substantiates why it took them 3 days to mobilize.

Motive – Politically, timing was bad for a Muslim terrorist attack on U.S. soil, however, the WH did not anticipate the follow on attacks (Detroit, Times Square) so now the WH’s arse is in a crack.

Napolitano told a very good source that her hands have been tied. She’s been told at a cabinet meeting not to push the domestic threat issue.

Another email sent to Fred Burton which was disclosed to analysts and tactical at STRATFOR shows the worrying inadequate leadership, lack of expertise, extreme politics and involvement of far too many outside contractors involved with DHS procedures. (385505)

** From a senior agent at DHS.


For your consumption only: it is a combination of inadequate leadership, lack of expertise, extreme politics and lousy procedures/equipment coupled with a forced rush to do something/anything yesterday, no matter how ineffective.
Another issue is that DHS in general has too many contractors whose first interest is furthering their company’s interests, and many of these folks couldn’t find their bottoms with both hands and a mirror. Unfortunately, the few direct hire staff end up overwhelmed by their contractor majority staffs.
Contractor footnote: have observed that the contractors are extremely adept at showing up at meetings in large numbers, eating the donuts and drinking the beverages without contributing anything more than body count.
Director told me that he has difficulties with all of the academic types who have jumped onto the counterterrorism bandwagon. They do some things very well, no question, but many times they are untimely (ever look at UofM’s START terrorism database?) and don’t answer the “so what” question; sortta like ending up with everything you ever want to know about something that is irrelevant. Or, as we used to say: some of the national labs are marketing solutions for problems that we didn’t have = “so what.”
Sounds jaundiced and there are surely some well-meaning TSA folks out there somewhere, but my assessment is that they are in the minority. Just wait until DHS moves 14,000 employees to the old St. Elizabeth Hospital site in SE Washington, and then maybe they will learn some real transportation security methodology.

Here is Mr Burton’s ‘Too many cooks’ response to Obama’s outlines steps to prevent terrorism (1100541)

Threat investigation is an art, but there is no single govt agency responsible. It depends upon the nature of the threat. So, the many cooks in the kitchen have to figure out who takes the lead in DC, but the originator of the threat reporting can run with the ball and direct his agent colleagues to take action in other posts. This was a very routine matter done 5-6 times a day, back on my watch. The inability to know who has the lead, provides the vacuum to be filled by those taking action in the field.

For example, here are the various threats and the lead agencies to investigate:

SecState, Embassies – State/DSS
Nuclear – FBI, CIA, DOE
US Homeland – FBI, DHS
Aviation – FBI, TSA, FAA

Clear as mudd, ain’t it?

Which is why WE would take the lead on every terror threat and run with the ball back in the day.

Fred Burton’s remarks on President Obama’s speech on the attempted terrorist attack on Christmas Day 2009 (1089652)

This is not a fixable problem.

DHS is dysfunctional and broke. FBI doesn’t share information w/DHS.

CIA has one foot in the grave. DIA is conspiring w/the FBI to bury the CIA.

Foggy Bottom has always been broke.

Meanwhile, NYPD is infiltrating aQ.

It is worrying when even well-known and experienced intelligence specialists have little faith in agencies like the DHS. The emails and remarks were made just over a year ago, but I seriously doubt that much has changed.

STRATFOR on Wikileaks

As to be expected there are a lot of emails regarding Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange. The feelings towards Mr Assange are pretty hostile although at least one of the analysts admitted to voting for him in Time magazines Person of the Year for 2010.  Assange won that year. (5521009)

i voted for assange. that makes me a tard. i thought the pic was great
with the ladies in the back.

Fred Burton on the tools that are being used to take down Wikileaks and cut off their finance (1067796)

Take down the money. Go after his infrastructure. The tools we are using to nail and de-construct Wiki are the same tools used to dismantle and track aQ. Thank Cheney & 43. Big Brother owns his liberal terrorist arse.

Fred Burton on how to deal with Assange, his family and associates (1056763)

One other point is this. Ferreting out his confederates is also key. Find out what other disgruntled rogues inside the tent or outside. Pile on. Move him from country to country to face various charges for the next 25 years. But, seize everything he and his family own, to include every person linked to Wiki.

In February it transpired via a leaked STRATFOR email that there was a sealed indictment already in place for Mr Assange which if anything makes what Wikileaks is doing even more important, in that there is a real need for more transparency in government rather that more secrecy. (375123)

Not for Pub —

We have a sealed indictment on Assange.

Pls protect

Fred Burton on US vice-president, Joe Biden’s comments stating that Julian Assange is a “hi-tech terrorist” (1973411)

Opinions are like arseholes: Everyone has one and they all stink.

Why may ask lad is the case being handled by FBI CT and not CI?

Material witness warrant has already been made. Deaths have already occurred from what I’ve been told. Trying to find out where.


Like I had cited before, he can be prosecuted under the terrorism statutes. Wiki is a terrorist organization.

Fred Burton on a reply to one of the analysts thoughts on an article by The Age newspaper in May 2010. (1036081)

He needs to fall off a roof top.

Burton replying to a ‘Guide on the leaks’ thread  (364817)

We probably asked the ASIS to monitor Wiki coms and email, after the soldier from Potomac was nabbed. So, its reasonable to assume we probably already know who has done it.
The delay could be figuring out how to declassify and use the Aussie intel on Wiki.
Wiki holding on to other docs is to protect their sources.
The owner is a peacenik. He needs his head dunked in a full toilet bowl at Gitmo.

Fred Burton on Wikileaks founder (1040789)

The odd aspect in play here is the seated Grand Jury looking at inside the beltway leaks. DoJ is on a Nazi-like pursuit of leakers. I have it on very word that Obama himself is driving that train, in cahoots w/Holder. Wiki far surpasses anything some reporter from the NYT has done.

To which an analyst replies:

This means that the administration doesn’t buy the Bradley Manning story?
That they think there has to have been someone more high up?

That last question by the analyst is something that most people believe, in that Manning is basically being played for the fall guy.

Those are a fraction of the emails regarding Julian Assange and Wikileaks, but it does draw a pretty conclusive picture in that should Assange actually be extradited to the US, he can fully expect to be found guilty even before any actual trial begins. This is why I believe that it is incredibly important for him not to be tried in the US, as he is already viewed as a terrorist by the security services and intelligent agencies. If the US gov are truly not going to leave this alone, which they obviously won’t, it would be fairer for him to be tried in a neutral country where at least his safety would be assured.

 STRATFOR on Bradley Manning

As with Julian Assange and Wikileaks, there is also a lot of chatter regarding Bradley Manning. However, not all analysts seem to view Manning with the same hatred as they do Assange. There is a lot of discussion as to just how a young Private with next to zero field experience was able to access the US Diplomatic Cables and then allegedly pass them off to Wikileaks, (unproven) which would usually involve having security clearances well above what he had, but apart from an assumed/ possibly misinterpreted comment above (1040789)  that is mainly it.

Fred Burton does however state that a very senior man at the FBI has said that there is no way the Manning will stand trial, but he should hopefully fry instead (386477)

From: “Fred Burton”
To: “Analyst List” , “TACTICAL”

Sent: Thursday, December 2, 2010 8:16:14 PM
Subject: Manning & Wiki Founder Arrest/Prosecution?

>From a very senior man @ the FBI — (not for attribution to the FBI pls)


There is no way the administration wants to put him on trial. That
would be a huge circus. Manning should fry and hopefully will

Please note that according to Mr Burton in his replying comment, ‘fry’ means to be severely punished in FBI speak. (same email)


We cannot source the comment specifically to the FBI, but can say a
reliable Stratfor source reports…..

Fry means pay severely for his actions in the intel lingo.

I think Manning could get the death penalty. Depends if the DOD goes after
him for espionage vice unauthorized disclosure.


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