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Athlone woman caught up in new Wikileaks documents row

Story by Deirdre Verney

Wednesday, 29th February, 2012 5:30pm

An Athlone native is the latest person to become embroiled in the most recent batch of internet documents published by Wikileaks.

On Monday, the anti-secrecy website began publishing The Global Intelligence Files, comprising of over five million emails from Texas-based intelligence company Stratfor, who have conducted checks and security analysis for a number of large corporations like Walmart Ltd, Lockeed Martin and several government agencies.

One of emails from the private intelligence firm relates to the career history of an Athlone woman, who was educated in Our Lady's Bower, Athlone, after she applied for a position with a major US corporate brand.

The security check was sought by the high profile corporation to assess the candidate's "character, integrity, ethics and honesty perspective" and to "gain any available insight into the candidate's personality and leadership style to assess whether or not she would fit into the company's culture.

The emails provide personal details in relation to the woman.

Reuters, the news agency, reported this week that Statfor has said the release of its stolen emails was an attempt to silence and intimidate it. Some of the emails being published "may be forged or altered to include inaccuracies; some may be authentic," the company statement said.

"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," the statement added.

Stratfor describes itself as a subscription-based publisher of geopolitical analysis with an intelligence-based approach to gathering information.

It's thought hackers broke into the company's data systems and gained access to a large number of company emails last December.

Mr Friedman, chief executive of Stratfor said on January 11 the thieves would be hard pressed to find anything significant in the stolen emails. "God knows what a hundred employees writing endless emails might say that is embarrassing, stupid or subject to misinterpretation. ... As they search our emails for signs of a vast conspiracy, they will be disappointed," he said.

After Stratfor's computers were hacked at least twice last December, the credit card details of more than 30,000 subscribers to Stratfor publications were posted on the Internet, including those of former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former US Vice President Dan Quayle.

The FBI began investigating the matter following the hacking incidents last year.

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