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Thursday
Jan062011

WikiLeaks Puts the Fear Into Bank of America

Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks and terror of pretty much anyone who has ever had an incriminating secret, recently said that he would release documents that would bring down the executives of a major bank. The New York Times reports that many assumed that his target is Bank of America and the bank is going into defensive mode. Executives at Bank of America are digging through their records, trying to find where a security breach might have happened and what information could have gotten out. The bank claims that it has not found anything, despite having hired a consulting firm to help with the review.

According to the Times, the terror is not limited to bank executives. Federal regulators now fear that the mass release will reveal some incompetence or corruption within Securities Exchange Commission. The government spent millions of dollars investigating banks over the last few years and the prospect of Mr. Assange doing what they could not is enough to make the SEC brace for a public outcry.

Perhaps the strangest thing about the situation is that no one, anywhere, is assuming that B of A is innocent of wrongdoing. From the media covering the story to the investors fretting over their portfolios to the regulators who should have caught it by now, to the bank itself, everyone with any stake in the situation seems firmly convinced that the bank is guilty of something. The bank has made no apparent effort to claim innocence and the SEC is looking to make lemonade out of lemons by possibly using whatever shows up on WikiLeaks to charge the appropriate parties. Assange said he would reveal "an ecosystem of corruption" with the documents he would release. He accomplished this, not by releasing documents, but simply by mentioning it.

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