November 29, 2010
By Andy Greenberg
First WikiLeaks spilled the guts of government. Next up: The private sector, starting with one major American bank.
In an exclusive interview earlier this month, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told Forbes that his whistleblower site will release tens of thousands of documents from a major U.S. financial firm in early 2011.
Assange wouldn’t say exactly what date, what bank, or what documents, but he compared the coming release to the emails that emerged in the Enron trial, a comprehensive look at a corporation’s bad behavior.
“It will give a true and representative insight into how banks behave at the executive level in a way that will stimulate investigations and reforms, I presume,” he told me.
Read Forbes’ full interview with Assange and our cover story on what he and WikiLeaks means for business here.
“You could call it the ecosystem of corruption,” Assange added. “But it’s also all the regular decision making that turns a blind eye to and supports unethical practices: the oversight that’s not done, the priorities of executives, how they think they’re fulfilling their own self-interest.”
WikiLeaks recent priority has clearly been the publication of hundreds of thousands of government documents: 76,000 classified documents from the war in Afghanistan, another 392,000 from Iraq, and on Sunday, the first piece of an ongoing exposure of what will likely be millions of diplomatic messages sent between the U.S. State Department and its embassies.
But that government focus doesn’t mean WikiLeaks won’t embarass corporations, too. Since October, WikiLeaks has closed its submissions channel; Assange says the site was receiving more documents than it could find resources to publish. And half those unpublished submissions, Assange says, relate to the private sector. He confirmed that WikiLeaks has damaging, unpublished material from pharmaceutical companies, finance firms (aside from the upcoming bank release), and energy companies, just to name a few industries.
Whether and when those secrets come out is solely a matter of Assange’s discretion. “We’re in a position where we have to prioritize our resources so that the biggest impact stuff gets released first.”
Full Article Here – http://blogs.forbes.com/andygreenberg/2010/11/29/exclusive-wikileaks-will-unveil-major-bank-scandal/