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Exclusive: Wikileaks chief said he has 5GB of secret docs on Bank of America

By Sahil Kapur
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 11:13 EDT
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In an interview published Monday, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange revealed that his whistleblower website intends to publish a trove of secret documents exposing the corruption of a major American bank.

He declined to say which bank, but he offered what may be a telling hint last year as to who the megaleak will target.

“At the moment, for example, we are sitting on 5GB from Bank of America, one of the executive’s hard drives,” Assange told the technology site Computer World in an article published on October 9, 2009.

The Wikileaks chief continued: “Now how do we present that? It’s a difficult problem. We could just dump it all into one giant Zip file, but we know for a fact that has limited impact. To have impact, it needs to be easy for people to dive in and search it and get something out of it.”

The Internet has been abuzz with speculations as to which bank the famous — or notorious — website will expose. Although Assange’s hint is far from a dead giveaway, his strategic approach to publishing secrets suggests that his next target may well be Bank of America, the nation’s largest bank in terms of assets.

Speaking to Andy Greenberg of Forbes, Assange said the leak — to be unveiled early in 2011 — “will give a true and representative insight into how banks behave at the executive level in a way that will stimulate investigations and reforms.”

It would blow the lid off an “ecosystem of corruption,” he added.

The Australian-born Wikileaks chief predicted it would be as damaging as the Enron emails, which brought the powerful Houston-based energy company to its knees and led to its bankruptcy.

Assange has long maintained that he is sitting on far more secret documents than he can handle at any given moment, and is generally astute in terms of winning the maximum amount of media coverage for his leaks.

Having exposed explosive US secrets pertaining to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Wikileaks this week has put the US in damage control mode after revealing 250,000 classified diplomatic cables obtained from the Department of State without permission, exposing the modus operandi of American foreign relations and countless diplomatic secrets of world leaders.

Stephen C. Webster contributed to this story.

 
 
 
 
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