|Founder||Joel Zamel and Daniel Green|
Washington, DC, United States
Wikistrat Inc. is a geostrategic analysis and business consultancy founded in Israel in 2010 by Joel Zamel and Daniel Green and headquartered in the United States. It describes itself as the world's first crowdsourced consultancy leveraging a global network of over 2,000 subject-matter experts. 74 percent of the firm’s revenue came from clients that were foreign governments such as United Arab Emirates and United States Government after which Deloitte is the biggest contributor.
Wikistrat's CEO is Oren Kesler. The Chief Technology Officer was formerly Daniel Green who is now technical advisor, and the previous CEO was Elad Schaffer who replaced the role of Zamel. Lisa Daftari is a senior analyst, Richard Weitz an Expert as well as others.
Previously, Wikistrats Chief Strategy Officer was former Israeli intelligence officer Dr. Shay Hershkovitz. Amanda Skuldt was a Senior Project Manager.
Rather than employing a stable of in-house analysts, Wikistrat maintains a network of hundreds of academics, consultants, journalists, and retired government/military personnel. Contributors are invited to participate in a given project if they have relevant expertise, and each individual is compensated for his or her time. Analysts can accept or refuse invitations on a case-by-case basis.
The company uses gamification to incentivize analyst participation. CEO Joel Zamel, said in 2013, "[Wikistrat's platform] uses a gamification engine we created that incentivizes analysts by ranking them at different levels for the work they do on the platform. They are immediately rewarded through the engine, and we also track granular changes made in real time. This allows us to track analyst activity and encourages them to put time and energy into Wiki analysis."
Among the notable members of Wikstrat's analytic community are Richard Weitz, Daniel Pipes, Parag Khanna, Kenneth R. Timmerman, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Shaukat Qadir, James Joyner, James C. Bennett, Leon Hadar, Michael Rubin, Mark Galeotti and Anne-Marie Slaughter.
The company was founded in 2010 in Israel by Joel Zamel and Daniel Green. After studying counter-terrorism, Zamel founded Wikistrat Inc. and became CEO, while Green came aboard as the company's chief technology officer. Dr. Thomas P.M. Barnett joined the firm as chief analyst a year later. Barnett is no longer with the firm. According to online media analytical source Forensic News, the company’s annual revenue exceeded $100 million by October 2019.
2011 Grand Strategy Competition
Between June and July 2011, Wikistrat hosted an "International Grand Strategy Competition" which tested the company's collaborative competition approach. More than thirty teams of MA and PhD students representing universities and think tanks participated in the month-long competition in which teams simulated thirteen countries. Participants' affiliations included the UK Defence Forum, the New York University School of Continuing and Professional Studies' Center for Global Affairs, the University of Kentucky's Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce, Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, and the University of Sussex. The team from Claremont Graduate University's School of Politics and Economics won the competition and a $10,000 prize.
The NYU team's predicted that Russia would ultimately have to outsource its security if it were to continue experiencing demographic decline, and if its economy were to remain heavily dependent on commodity exports. Participants from the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies argued that India was rooting for Pakistan's disintegration, considering the collapse of the Muslim state as a prerequisite to fully institutionalizing India's alliance with the United States. Students at Sussex believed that North Korea would collapse without Chinese support and therefore recommended that the nation diversify its allies. Organizers were surprised by the level of interest in the competition.
In 2010, it ran a simulation on the death of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il, the results of which were referenced (in articles by the organization's chief strategist) on CNN, Time and World Politics Review after Kim died in late 2011.
In January 2014, Wikistrat analysts predicted the rise of a separatist movement in Crimea seeking Russian annexation. This process unfolded in March 2014, prompting digital magazine InformationWeek to write that Wikistrat "beat the CIA."
2016 US presidential election campaign
In 2015 Zamel's company Wikistrat spent a week running scenarios called the Cyber Mercenaries project on how a U.S. election interference campaign could be made by Russian cyber actors which was reported to Donald Trump Jr in 2016.
US Special Counsel Robert Mueller ― who investigated Russian meddling in the 2016 American elections ― questioned Wikistrat founder Joel Zamel about his relationship with George Nader, a witness who is cooperating in the Special Counsel investigation. Mueller also asked questions about the work of Wikistrat.
Donald Trump Jr. had met with Zamel, Nader, and Erik Prince in Trump Tower in August 2016. Their discussion reportedly included an offer on the part of Zamel for pro-Trump manipulation of social media.
On April 5, 2019 the Senate Intelligence Committee sent a letter to Walter Soriano the owner of USG Security Limited based in Britain and Israel for his communication with Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, Psy-Group, Wikistrat, and Black Cube, Orbis Business Intelligence (a firm co-founded by Christopher Steele).
According to a July 2018 email, Oren Kesler told a Wikistrat employee that Jamal Khashoggi worked for the firm. In a separate email sent shortly after Khashoggi's death, Kesler denied that Khashoggi ever worked for Wikistrat. In late 2019, Wikistrat finally admitted to Forensic News that Khashoggi had in fact worked for the firm. According to articles from The Daily Beast and The New York Times, the founder of Wikistrat, Joel Zamel, met with General Ahmed al-Assiri, the Saudi general who ordered Khashoggi's assassination, in early 2017 to discuss covert operations to destabilize Iran. One of the topics discussed at these meetings was the use of covert operations to assassinate dissidents. According to Zamel's lawyers, Zamel turned down the offer to participate in "lethal operations."
- David Shedd - Previously the acting Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and a Central Intelligence Agency operative.
- General (ret.) Michael Hayden - Previously the Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
- Ambassador Dennis Ross - Diplomat and author
- Elliott Abrams - Best known for his involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal during the Reagan administration, which led to his conviction in 1991
- John P. Hannah - Former national security adviser to U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and member of Trump’s State Department transition team.
- Sandra Charles
- Steve Cambone
- Jerry J. Brennan. - CEO of the Security Management Resources Group of Companies an executive level international security management search firm
- Sommer, Allison Kaplan (2018-05-21). "Who Is Joel Zamel, the Australian-Israeli Linked to Mueller's Trump Probe?". Haaretz. Retrieved 2019-06-04.
- Tau, Byron; Ballhaus, Rebecca; Viswanatha, Aruna (2018-04-03). "Mueller Probe Into U.A.E. Influence Broadens". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
- "About Wikistrat". Wikistrat. Retrieved 15 January 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Klippenstein, Ken (2018-06-04). "Inside Wikistrat, the Mysterious Intelligence Firm Now in Mueller's Sights". Retrieved 2019-06-05.
- Kesler, Oren (2016-03-21). "Rousseff's Fall and the Rise of Brazil's Civil Society". The National Interest. Retrieved 2019-06-05.
- BY. "The First Woman To..." www.diplomaticourier.com. Retrieved 2019-06-06.
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- Skuldt, Amanda. "Could a third-party candidate win the U.S. presidency? That's very unlikely". Washington Post.
- Ungerleider, Neal. "Why This Company Is Crowdsourcing, Gamifying the World's Most Difficult Problems". Fast Company. Archived from the original on March 7, 2016.
- Stedman, Scott; Hulvalchik, Alex; DeNault, Bobby; Levai, Eric; Gonzales Jr., Xavier; Cobb, Adrienne; Coleman, Jess (October 22, 2019). "Israeli private intelligence firm claimed recruitment of Khashoggi prior to murder (Financial Structure Section)". Forensic News. Retrieved 24 November 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "UK Defence Forum competes with world's best". Retrieved 15 January 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "CGA student team in global Wikistrat Grand Strategy Competition". The Global Citizen. Retrieved 15 January 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Ziegler, Erin Holaday (13 June 2011). "Patterson Students WikiStrat Globally". University of Kentucky News. Retrieved 15 January 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Four Students Compete in Wikistrat International Strategy Competition". Retrieved 15 January 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Hakner, James. "Sussex students battle top strategic minds in global comp". Retrieved 15 January 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "CGU team takes first place, $10,000 prize in International Grand Strategy Competition". Retrieved 15 January 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Barnett, Thomas P.M. (23 June 2011). "Future grand strategists: Russia will someday be forced to outsource its security". Time. Retrieved 15 January 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Ottens, Nick (28 June 2011). "Is India Rooting For Pakistan's Disintegration?". Atlantic Sentinel. Retrieved 15 January 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "North Korea could collapse without China, say student strategists". Retrieved 15 January 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Apps, Peter (13 May 2011). "As China rises, "grand strategy" talk back in style". Reuters. Retrieved 15 January 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "China eyes North Korea's minerals; what's next?". CNN. 27 December 2011. Retrieved 15 January 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Barnett, Thomas P.M. (6 January 2012). "How America Painted Itself Into A Corner on North Korean Succession". Time. Retrieved 15 January 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Barnett, Thomas P.M. (21 December 2011). "Over the Horizon: The Art of the Reasonable in North Korea". World Politics Review. Retrieved 15 January 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Kelley, Michael B (21 March 2014). "AFTER CRIMEA: Top Intelligence Analysts Forecast The 5 Things That Putin Might Do Next". Business Insider. Retrieved 13 July 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Mitzner, Dennis (8 June 2014). "Crowdsourcing: The Future of Consulting". Information Week. Retrieved 13 July 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Banco, Betsy Woodruff|Erin (2019-01-30). "Mueller Witness' Team Gamed Out Russian Meddling … in 2015". Retrieved 2019-06-04.
- Tau, Byron; Ballhaus, Rebecca (2018-05-23). "Israeli Intelligence Company Formed Venture With Trump Campaign Firm Cambridge Analytica". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2019-06-04.
- Tau, Byron; Ballhaus, Rebecca; Viswanatha, Aruna (2018-04-02). "Mueller Probe Into U.A.E. Influence Broadens". Wall Street Journal.
- Mazzetti, Mark; Bergman, Ronen; Kirkpatrick, David D. (2018-05-19). "Trump Jr. and Other Aides Met With Gulf Emissary Offering Help to Win Election". New York Times.
- Bertr, Natasha. "Senate Intelligence Committee summons mysterious British security consultant". POLITICO. Retrieved 2019-06-07.
- staff, T. O. I. "Report: US Senate asks to interview Israeli-Brit in connection with Russia probe". www.timesofisrael.com. Retrieved 2019-06-07.
- Stedman, Scott; Hulvalchick, Alex; DeNault, Robert J.; Levai, Eric; Jr, Xavier Gonzalez; Cobb, Adrienne; Coleman, Jess (2019-10-22). "Israeli private intelligence firm claimed recruitment of Khashoggi prior to murder". Forensic News. Retrieved 2020-05-29.
- Mazzetti, Mark; Bergman, Ronen; Kirkpatrick, David D. (2018-11-11). "Saudis Close to Crown Prince Discussed Killing Other Enemies a Year Before Khashoggi's Death". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-05-29.
- Swan, Erin Banco|Betsy (2018-10-25). "Exclusive: Saudi Spy Met With Team Trump About Taking Down Iran". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2020-05-29.
- Wilkinson, Tracy. "Elliott Abrams, U.S. envoy for Venezuela, faces combative House hearing as policy stalls". latimes.com. Retrieved 2019-02-14.
- Woodruff, Erin Banco|Betsy (2018-11-16). "Top Cheney Aide in Mueller's Sights as Probe Expands". Retrieved 2019-06-18.
- "Advisory Council | Wikistrat". Retrieved 2019-06-07.