December 1st, 2010
05:22 AM GMT
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(CNN) – As the media fallout from WikiLeaks’ revelations of U.S. diplomatic cables continues to spiral, founder Julian Assange claims the next ‘megaleak’ will target a big U.S. bank.

In an interview with Forbes, Assange said he will release “either tens or hundreds of thousands of documents” early next year and he claims the revelations will be on par with Enron, the energy trader that collapsed in 2001. The resultant scandal also took out venerable accounting firm Arthur Anderson.

He wouldn’t reveal the name of the bank or the nature of potential allegations.

Speculation has run rampant on who the target may be. For the record, the top five U.S. banks are: Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, Wachovia and Wells Fargo.

But Assange may have already leaked his own leak in an interview with Computerworld last year when he said WikiLeaks was sitting on five gigabytes from a Bank of America executive’s computer.

“More than a year ago WikiLeaks claimed to have the computer hard drive of a Bank of America executive,” bank spokesman Scott Silvestri told the McClatchy Tribune news service. “Aside from the claims themselves we have no evidence that supports this assertion. We are unaware of any new claims by WikiLeaks that pertain specifically to Bank of America.”

Regardless, the board rooms of major banks are no doubt filled with strategy meetings on what to do if and when this next ‘megaleak’ hits their business.

“If this is an Enron situation, and (the company) has been doing criminal activity, they’re not going to be able to spin their way out of wrong doing,” said Damian Coory, Hong Kong managing director of Edelman, the international public relations firm.

“First mistake managers make in this situation is to think short term, which is linked to a denial phase … when you’re at fault, you have to accept the extent to which you are at fault,” Coory said. “That’s what happened with Enron –- they held on to this belief that this thing is going to go away. The reality is it can come crumbling down in a day.”

We live in the age of asymmetric attacks. A small group of terrorists operating from a backwater nation in central Asia defined the first decade of the 21st century with the September 11 attacks. Now a thumb drive from a low-level military intelligence soldier, handed to a website operating with a few people, has put U.S. foreign policy on the global defensive.

Can the reputation of a multinational corporation be felled by a similar attack? We may soon see.


soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Ahmad Alfageeh

    Mr. Assange had became the unparalleled and the undisputed super hero of the electronic age. Its the duty of all the ordinary people of the world that their lively hoods are grind by the corporate America and west greed to defend Mr. Assange against all the vile and diabolic sachems of the US and its allies. This hero had rendered, the so called free press, propaganda machines comparable to Hitlers. we shall commence this week in San'aa, the capital of Yemen, the first demonstrations to defend Mr. Assange and support him against all evils.

    December 1, 2010 at 7:09 am |
  2. hogsatemysister

    The next cables are not about banks. They are about J. Edgar Hoover and Mr. Winky. Stay tuned.

    December 1, 2010 at 7:28 am |
  3. Robert

    If the track record of this mentally deranged, attention-obsessed nutjob is to go by, the records will reveal very little. I thought "whistleblowing" was about outing illegal activity – that's the only semi-legitimate reason to accept it in the extreme scenario. But this is patently not what happened. Out of the 250,000 diplomatic cables leaked, 99.9% contain nothing but gossiping between diplomats, or the sort of confidential information unrelated to any illegal activity that had absolutely no place to be revealed, where its revelation would lead to unpredictable diplomatic outcomes not necessarily conducive to peace. Even the remaining 0.1% of the leaked information showed pitifully little, not exactly the hype it was made out to be. The previous leaks in Afghanistan and Iraq were also fairly similar in that nothing substantial was revealed – only that some information jeopardized the lives of people living in those countries. I expect the same with any pending release of bank data: non-material gossip sent in email form between bankers none of us unintended recipients have any rights to read.

    December 1, 2010 at 7:58 am |
  4. Dustin Dickens

    Mr. Assange is now the target of not one, but many, well financed nations and operatives of those nations. He needs help if he is going to survive this battle against goliath. Much love and support for you, you will need it! I invite those who believe he is getting a raw deal and is being unfairly targeted for being committed enough to follow through with the greatest tool to transparency in government, all government, since we were given the right to vote for and remove our leaders at will based on their performance. Please people, do not be afraid of democracy...but do please do it with some modicum of intelligence. Good luck Mr. Assange, my thoughts are with you.

    December 1, 2010 at 8:02 am |
  5. gmm

    i dont understand it why the u.s. gov't. is dragging its feet to any action whatsoever against this terrorist julian assange. he & his cohorts have stolen gov't transcripts & document w/c are highly classified & sensitive to the security of the u.s.a. & endanger its citizens around the world. why don't they go after this guy assange & his cohorts and bring them to justice & apply the fullest extent of the law to put them behind bars forever & throw the keys in the middle of the pacific ocean. what wikileaks is doing is holding the whole u.s. democracy hostage to their evil schemes. if it were up to me, i'd hunt them down & shoot them on site.....they have compromised so many lives with this whole fiasco...

    December 1, 2010 at 8:11 am |
  6. Fred

    He is doing very good things: he has showed how worried the Arab states are about Iran, and he has made the world realize North Korea will implode and everything there will be fine.

    December 1, 2010 at 8:19 am |
  7. Francesca

    I just hope people's savings are not at stake.

    December 1, 2010 at 8:25 am |
  8. Mark

    While I fully understand the ramifications of such a large scale expose and its impact on individuals & governments, I cannot but help admire the courage of Mr. Assange. It is one man (with a small team) against the powers that be! He is running from country to country, with the smartest sleuths of the world trying to track him down. I don't know if the grave allegations against him are true or not – but it may very well be a diversionary attempt on the part of those who have a lot to lose by what Wikileaks has to share. I am sure that he would have received numerous threats that we are not even aware of. I would be defecating (hey its CNN) in my pants if i were in his place.

    The US will not doubt strengthen its communications security protocols to prevent a leak like this in the future. But the damage has been done. I think the world will be a lot more wary of the US going forward and take everything they have to say with a pinch of salt.

    December 1, 2010 at 8:56 am |
  9. wulilian

    Mr. Assange is hero.

    December 1, 2010 at 8:58 am |
  10. peter mills Johannesburg, South Africa

    W e all know,deep in our,hearts and minds that all Governments,on this planet, to some extent get up to UNDERHANDED ACTIVITIES, some without a doubt in my mind, less than others.People,in Government,and let us not Forget ,we, have people in Government,not Robot's.ALL, ALL, People are imperfect, and will seek their own agenda.At this point it seems to me that Mr.Julian Assange has a,SINCERE,GENUINE,AGENDA ,FOR TRUTH. If this remains his,SINGLE, AGENDA, and he achieves it succesfully, he certainly has my VOTE. Frank ,honest, direct discussion, will always win,in the final analysis.The native American, i understand coined the phrase,"The palefaces speak with forked tongue" . If mankind stopped speaking with forked tongues,Mr J Assange,would not need to endager himself,in order to assist,us to speak STRAIGHT.

    December 1, 2010 at 9:36 am |
  11. peter mills Johannesburg, South Africa

    Mr.Ahmed Alfagesh, you are in denial Sir,if you claim the West, and you mention ,America in particular,as, the only ones, who pursue greed and Diablical schemes.NOT A NATION IN THE WORLD,IS NOT GUILTY, OF WHAT YOU CLAIM TO BE A MONOPOLY OF THE WEST. you see Sir it is this kind of double talk that Mr.Julian Assange is exposing.Do not try and High Jack Mr.J.Assange's work for your own AGENDA!!!

    December 1, 2010 at 9:47 am |
  12. Big Brother

    28.11.2010 – The day all mankind celebrated democracy and freedom of speech!

    December 1, 2010 at 9:54 am |
  13. Og Obas

    Mr. Assange is a profound super hero but am so amazed that he has not released something about Nigeria yet.

    December 1, 2010 at 10:03 am |
  14. carlos pereira

    The capitalist depredator of everything and everyone, has letally sickened the entire world. There is nothing animated or inanimated that is free of the cancer involve in the "american interest". They are killing all form of life...Worst than the evil "values" of this criminals, is what come ahead : NOTHING...

    December 1, 2010 at 10:04 am |
  15. naveen

    Wiki Leaks has done a service to the common people of USA as they have no say on Militiary and Diplomats and now they know how they operate which is not in the Public .Julian Assange can extend the same effort on Iran,N.Korea,Libya,Pakistan,Saudi Arabia,China,Russia,Somalia,Venezuela,Ecuador,India,Myanmar,Columbia,Brazil,Mexico etc

    December 1, 2010 at 10:32 am |
  16. maxwell

    I feel the time of revelation of truth is starting. I know for Mr. Assange it is live or death situation, which make it more brighter.

    December 1, 2010 at 10:44 am |
  17. Connie Coburg

    All the wkikleaks, I just can't wait for the movie or the GAME! And poor Jusitn, he'll probably end up dead.

    December 1, 2010 at 11:16 am |
  18. carlos pereira

    The capitalist depredator of everything and everyone, has letally sickened the entire world. There is nothing animated or inanimated that is free of the cancer involve in the "american interest". They are killing all form of life...Worst than the evil "values" of this criminals, is what come ahead : NOTHING...
    ASSANGE is : (TIME), The man of the year

    December 1, 2010 at 11:35 am |
  19. Connie Coburg

    Sorry, I misspelt Justin, too many VB's!

    December 1, 2010 at 11:35 am |
  20. Arthur uzo

    The guy is doing the right job, at the right time. How can and were did all the global money go to?

    December 1, 2010 at 11:46 am |
  21. Anonymous

    What's the story behind "rape"? I assume it's untrue?

    December 1, 2010 at 11:54 am |
  22. carlos pereira

    ¿You hear the world wisper, ASSANGE : Man of the year?... HERO of the year???

    December 1, 2010 at 11:54 am |
  23. carlos pereira

    You have ears...¡HEAR! : Assange is -rwite know- : MAN OF THE YEAR

    December 1, 2010 at 11:57 am |
  24. Krister

    It is indeed Bank of America. It will be interesting to see how much damage these documents will have.

    December 1, 2010 at 11:59 am |
  25. Darin

    It is about time. There has been too much "behind the scenes" work done. We are living in the 21st century with 20th century work ethics.

    Next should be one of the big three car manufacturers ... they have been bleeding us for far to long. This will definitely link to the oil barons ...

    December 1, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
  26. Robin Kilpatrick

    Seems to me that someone needs to set up a site for whistleblowers inside wikileaks to leak the leaks early!

    December 1, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
  27. damain andrew

    Mr assang can be called as a electronic prophit in 21 century,as the first epesdo was the shotting from helicopter and killing innocent people in Iraq (Mrs Clinton did say nothing), then we saw the Iraq war, killing innocient by American soldiers (again MRs clinton did say nothing), the Afgan warlog, and the latest US department cables , He should be admired for his action as we all of us living in electronic world, if a small incident happens in one corner the whole global will be aware of that in less than 5 minutes. red tape, interpool for arresting Mr assang is an action of US uncertinity.not a realiable allie to its allie.spying on UN diplomats is an action that can not be tolerate.

    December 1, 2010 at 12:17 pm |
  28. Lakc24

    It would be more interesting for Wikileaks to focus the public spotlight on Freddie Mac and Lehman Bros' and other finance institutes' documents, memos, reports and show us who and where they had the ka chin and how it lead to the credit crunch fallout for ppl to loose their jobs.

    So these ppl should be made to think twice by allowing transparency of stability when looking for jobs to work with the same employers who owe more than their integrity to them.

    They should devise some index to indicate the stability index of providing job security for two years atleast in relation to employee strength, profits ratios and assets and libalities which should be conducted by central governments on quartley or annual basis. NOT A FORECAST.

    Another thing is why the Somali priacy problem is not resolved since it started. Should be investigated as it seems that there are some strong small HR vigilante orgs of individual parties involved who are financially benefitting from this enterprise to keep the fire burning over generations by generations to come.

    I think this so-called alliances, world orgs, and other what not orgs are draining the public money just to keep puppets of democracy and republics and other idealists alive. It all burns down to the house of faiths superiority to bridge the new world divide AT WHAT COSTS the next generation should PAY????!!! The Science is totally messed up.

    December 1, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
  29. carlos pereira

    Moderate this... ASSANGE : HERO OF THE YEAR. You have permission to publish thiiiis??? The croks are -know-, after the judge???

    December 1, 2010 at 1:34 pm |
  30. carlos pereira

    You insist to moderate -(hide)-, the Reality???

    December 1, 2010 at 1:37 pm |
  31. A.G. Mundy-Castle

    "A small group of terrorists operating from a backwater nation in central Asia defined the first decade of the 21st century with the September 11 attacks." This is a myth – there is enough evidence on the internet proving that 9/11 was an inside job, mainstream media continues to perpetuate this massive deception by constantly reminding us about the terrorist attacks whenever there is an opportunity to slip this into a report , it is brainwashing.

    December 1, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
  32. carlos pereira

    ¿Awaiting "MODERATION? We wonder ¿If CNN is a moderate franchise of the State department?...and CIA
    What are you long : PUBLISH-PUBLISH-PUBLISH
    CLINTON : QUIT...Better : lets fire her

    December 1, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
  33. carlos pereira

    We know now wich is the real job of the american diplomats...Besides ...they are so exagerated : silly and inept

    December 1, 2010 at 3:30 pm |
  34. carlos pereira

    ¿Still awaiting "MODERATION"???, or permission from the state department???

    December 1, 2010 at 3:32 pm |
  35. Norman

    If the Mainstream Media would just do its job of hard core investigative reporting, like they all used to do in the good old days, instead of being an echoing mouth piece of the government and corporations, WikiLeaks would no longer be needed, but until the MSM wakes up and once again becomes the 5th estate, Assange will rule the day.

    December 1, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
  36. carlos pereira

    Still awaiting permission ("MODERATION"),from your boss,CLINTON???
    QUIT...CLINTON : QUIT, and take with you the "moderator" of CNN...and all your diplomatic crooks.
    This e-mail dont need "moderation" examination, NO???

    December 1, 2010 at 4:56 pm |
  37. carlos pereira

    LONG LIVE ASSANGE. There is no hope whatsoever for humanity, but people like ASSANGE clean up some the poison, before departure.

    December 1, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
  38. whatahit

    Can Mr. Assange's revelations put the skids on another Enron or another financial meltdown nearly as bad as The Great Depression? I'm for anything he, or anyone else, can expose if it will prevent just one person from losing their entire life’s savings at the hands of greed and corruption. I say open the flood gates!

    December 1, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
  39. Connie Coburg

    is there any wikileaks regarding the oil companies and the cover up regarding the solar/electric powered cars? Be interesting to find out now instead of 30 to 50years time.

    December 2, 2010 at 1:24 pm |
  40. Steve

    It is about time the tables are turned on the corporate world. They are concerned about their privacy. This coming from people who demand total access to all your personal information. Someone looking for work have to go through background checks, credit checks, and drug testing. Some companies fire you if you have nicotine in your system. For some reason they truly believe they have this right. We have no right to privacy but they are exempt to any scutiny. The banks create a financial meltdown and no one is held accountable. If fact they profit even more. If the average person did the samething as they did they would be sitting in a very small cold room right now.

    December 2, 2010 at 8:43 pm |
  41. Merritt Lynn Bazykowski

    What is the number one rule in life, no matter who or where you live??

    I agree. This man is just doing his JOB!!! As we all do. How is it, that this man has recieved reconition and multipul awards for his work and his company and is now hiding because of repercussions?? He is not the criminal in this, he didn't leak ANY information, he is just providing the world with what we crave, the truth.
    Someone else TOOK the information and gave it to a VERY public person. He is the hero in this....think about it, Assange knows where it all came from, has he given up a name(s)?
    Being in the government puts you in the public eye just like a singer/actor etc so they should act accordingly. Maybe the rulers of the world should clean up their back yards some. Then maybe, just maybe they would not be in this position! Everything always comes out to public view! ALWAYS!! So if Assange publishes more, then more power to him! WAKE UP WORLD!! He wouldn't have this info if it didn't happen..........................................................

    I agree with Steve on the back ground checks. Can I test my employer for drugs and do a credit check on them? I want to make sure that I am not working for a cracked out employer that is going to be bankrupt in a year or two because he has to have a rush with his hookers in some nasty Las Vegas back alley! Thats my right, right?? But if I have poor to fair credit, that gives employers the right to fire me, or not hire me at all? This is such crap!!!

    How's bout this, I am a 32 middle class white single mother, I will run for president! Fire the DAMN CEO's and shady fat and dumb politions, cut traveling cost for the government and give that savings to where it counts "THE FUCKING CHILDREN OF AMERICA"!!! Let them ponder on how they are going to get a job to make ends meet, or how is the rent going to be paid...or for them I should just say mortage, Im sure none of them live in a one bedroom apartment. Hell, how about just feeding yourself, going through McD's drive through paying in nickles and pennies for a cheesburger for your kid.
    Our America is not really standing proud, is she? Not on the lies or murders or selfishness!!
    I'm begininning to NOT be proud to be an American, I'm embarrassed!

    December 3, 2010 at 11:46 pm |
  42. Andreas, Stockholm

    I find it almost unreal that Mrs.Clinton makes a statement describing the leaks as :

    "an attack on the world". In the context of Wikileaks.

    On the 21st of January this year she made another statement :

    Hillary Clinton will today promise funding to organisations promoting internet freedom and pledge to make unrestricted access a foreign policy priority. In the context of Google in China.

    The hypocracy speaks for itself.
    What's next? Give up all freedom for safety maybe?
    This whole episode is revealing the rather farsical view of transparency and democratic freedoms in general in the United States government.

    December 4, 2010 at 10:34 pm |
  43. Andreas, Stockholm

    Is it only me that thinks there is something wrong with diplomacy that requires secrecy?

    Democratic countries should not require secrecy when it comes to dealing with other countries. All this talk about the necessity to allow dialog without openness is in my opinion rediculous. All decisions and actions taken in the name of a nation needs to be scrutinized and leaders need to know they will be held accountable. Corruption and abuse of power occurs when there is a lack of transparency and insight by the public.

    What has happened to the United States? This great country that used to be the beacon of freedom and sound judgment.

    December 5, 2010 at 7:43 am |
  44. Victor Chigozie

    Julian Assange didn't steal the documents he published, lets not get sentimental about the whole issues.

    He has not violated any American laws. He is a swede not an American, He doesn't live in America and the acts were not carried out in America.

    Espionage act can not be exerted on Assange. Let US and all others that feels there images are being tarnished not victimize him. He is simply exercising his rights.

    What I don't support is, if their is any other ulterior motives for which Julian Assange's WikiLeaks is releasing this classified informations.

    As regards national security, some of the information, certainly not all,could generate tension between nations, the release of such I don't really think it was very appropriate.

    December 11, 2010 at 3:38 pm |
  45. Alyza

    Oh, Me Gots IT .thePLAIN of Reign Is Manly In Bowles .Oops, he,heTaipei bekncos. But Norman Tebbitt bekncos first US INTELLECTUALS with a hinterland like to check out things like the Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival we're cultured at Volesoft you know. Plus it's a place to shelter from the relentless rain that falls mainly in the Oxford bowl we think you've got it. Where is his bike? Lattest & Greatest from theMASTER, Yet NO Correspondo. Better Check agin. Michael.Here Signal from Bagram AFB With Hon Obama esq in speech at14:45 on Columbia Broadcast Service was Deal. One soldier Looked particularly Unhappy, right behind podeum. Never Trust euro, faded too far ago, Now came back to Mind. So Thats' Where Old South Went, Believed Luthers Lute.So many in crowd have had, Posterior lobotamies, thats Hole or dent in back of head,near neck. raised for harvest & there they be. Hon President wasn't kind, telling Em about families left behinnd,No Nutz, & value of laying side by side. Then Headed for Door, With hacste.Probably Luchtime, So Missed Point of Fellowship. NutSi Vs. Nuet, Show was late, as conferrence with Hon Karzi, Kazzu, karistan, went on & on. reason, Hon. Karzi bluffed way into office, after International vote check, had less than majority, reelection candidate, abdullah abdullah, quit, so finally H Karzi won by default. abdullah was name of king from mideast until H.I.H. Faud came back to life about same time in Aug'9. now uncertain whom is running Saudi Aribia. Hey-MIKE .The Rain In Spain Is Mainly In the Plains .drashek Oxford Sunday Times as they Happening.

    May 15, 2012 at 6:13 am |

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