While the hue and cry following Bank of America’s $2.8 billion “gift,” “bailout” or “settlement” – whatever you want to call the lender’s settlement with government controlled GSEs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – has barely settled, the lender itself is probably glad to get the issue of mortgage buybacks out of the way so that it can concentrate on another potential threat that ultimately stems from within. Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, has been threatening since late 2010 to release a “hard drive from a Bank of America executive” and, in conjunction, to “take down” an unnamed – but heavily implied – “leading American bank”. Assange claims he plans to release said information in “early 2011.”
Of course, Bank of America probably has plenty to fear. Even if no one in the organization is guilty of any wrongdoing – and in the wake of the robo-signer debacle, a lily-white lending and foreclosure record seems impossible for any lender – the release of this type of “leaked” confidential information will be a PR nightmare. The lender reports launching “an extensive internal investigation to determine both the source and the substance of potential information leaks,” hoping to head off the offensive by dealing with the information publicly and via its own media outlets rather than waiting for the WikiLeaks information to blow. Additionally, an internal review of regulatory and congressional investigations of Countrywide Financial loans acquisitions and the acquisition of Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. are in the works.
Many people throughout the world believe that “the only people afraid of WikiLeaks are the people who have something to hide.” However, there appears to be little regulation of the information released on this website, and, much as Wikipedia may be a good source of leads on information but not a valid reference in and of itself, WikiLeaks appears to be somewhat “sketchy” when it comes to providing real, unbiased and fully verified, objective information. Of course, we should note that WikiLeaks is not affiliated with Wikipedia or the Wikimedia Foundation, but is only associated with the popular free encyclopedia via the generic term “wiki,” which Wikipedia has emphasized “was already in existence prior to the advent of Wikipedia”.
Is it fair for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to target lenders, governments and individuals with his “explosive” information? Do Bank of America’s defensive maneuvers guarantee that the lender is guilty of something?
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