Monday, January 3, 2011

Bank of America further tightens sphincter amid WikiLeaks' impending release

Posted By on Mon, Jan 3, 2011 at 12:59 PM

WikiLeaks still hasn't dropped its document bomb on Bank of America, but word is Charlotte's big bank is in full-on paranoid mode.

From The New York Times:

By the time the conference call ended, it was nearly midnight at Bank of America’s headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., but the bank’s counterespionage work was only just beginning.

A day earlier, on Nov. 29, the director of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, said in an interview that he intended to “take down” a major American bank and reveal an “ecosystem of corruption” with a cache of data from an executive’s hard drive. With Bank of America’s share price falling on the widely held suspicion that the hard drive was theirs, the executives on the call concluded it was time to take action.

Since then, a team of 15 to 20 top Bank of America officials, led by the chief risk officer, Bruce R. Thompson, has been overseeing a broad internal investigation — scouring thousands of documents in the event that they become public, reviewing every case where a computer has gone missing and hunting for any sign that its systems might have been compromised.

In addition to the internal team drawn from departments like finance, technology, legal and communications, the bank has brought in Booz Allen Hamilton, the consulting firm, to help manage the review. It has also sought advice from several top law firms about legal problems that could arise from a disclosure, including the bank’s potential liability if private information was disclosed about clients.

The company’s chief executive, Brian T. Moynihan, receives regular updates on the team’s progress, according to one Bank of America executive familiar with the team’s work, who, like other bank officials, was granted anonymity to discuss the confidential inquiry.

Whether Mr. Assange is bluffing, or indeed has Bank of America in its sights at all, the bank’s defense strategy represents the latest twist in the controversy over WikiLeaks and Mr. Assange.

Read the rest of this article, by Nelson D. Schwartz, here.

Further reading, in somewhat connected news: Are you a terrorist by association? In These Times takes a look at the Justice Department and their current targets. Read more here.

Just because it's fun, and since we're still waiting for the next WikiLeaks bomb to drop (tick frikkin tock), here's Julian Assange rapping (kinda) on Rap News 5:

Rhiannon "Rhi" Bowman is an independent journalist who contributes snarky commentary on Creative Loafing's CLog blog four days a week in addition to writing for several other local media organizations. To learn more, click the links or follow Rhi on Twitter.

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