What is the real story behind a WikiLeaks Bank of America dump?
In the latest WikiLeaks news, Bank of America is rumored to be the next target. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been stoking high drama by threatening the release of files from a big bank without saying which one. Analysts wonder if anything new will be revealed and one said it’s financial regulators, not bank executives, who could be embarrassed by the next WikiLeaks release.
WikiLeaks and Bank of America
WikiLeaks and Bank of America were linked as far back as October 2009 when Assange told Computerworld he had incriminating files stolen from a Bank of America executive’s hard drive. Recently Assange has said WikiLeaks would release secret files that would expose unethical behavior at a major U.S. bank in early 2011. The fact that Bank of America announced on Dec. 18 that it will no longer process payments to WikiLeaks added fuel to the fire of speculation that B of A would be the subject of the next WikiLeaks media feeding frenzy.
B of A not the only ones worried about WikiLeaks
Investors have been worried about the WikiLeaks/Bank of America rumors. Assange told the London Times Monday that his next leak would make bank executives resign. But Andrew Ross Sorkin of the New York Times points out that it’s financial regulators, not Bank of America executives, who have the most to lose. Revelations of financial industry malfeasance are nothing new these days. What would be news is the fact that if such bald-faced evidence of unethical finance, why didn’t financial regulators uncover it, and if they did, why didn’t they do anything about it?
The Feds’ WikiLeaks conundrum
The Feds have spent millions investigating Wall Street with nothing to show for that investment but bailouts. The dilemma for the U.S. government in the WikiLeaks/Bank of America drama is that the Justice Department is currently exploring ways to charge Assange with espionage. Can Attorney General Eric Holder prosecute the WikiLeaks founder with one hand and use evidence released by his organization to go after bank executives with the other? It will look bad any which way. Meantime, WikiLeaks will reap another bountiful harvest of publicity and Assange will continue to enjoy basking in the spotlight.