An upcoming data dump by WikiLeaks will be damaging enough that an executive at a major American bank will resign, the organization's founder Julian Assange told the U.K.'s Times in a recent interview.
Speculation has swirled that WikiLeaks may be targeting Bank of America in its next leak, which Assange said in a Forbes interview will target at least one major bank. In a 2009 Computer World interview, Assange said that he had a 5 GB hard drive from a Bank of America executive. The bank recently stopped processing WikiLeaks payments.
In an interview with the Times, Assange said: "We don't want the bank to suffer unless it's called for. But if its management is operating in a responsive way there will be resignations."
New York Times scribe Andrew Ross Sorkin, for his part, says it's not Wall Street executives who are worried about WikiLeaks' next bombshell, it's Wall Street regulators. Here's Sorkin:
It seems the prospect of gigabytes of e-mail and other documents from financial institutions can be viewed one of two ways: as a treasure trove for regulators to scrutinize -- or as an embarrassment for the United States government, which has spent millions of dollars investigating Wall Street in the last two years without a scalp to show for it.
Inside the Securities and Exchange Commission, the organization is bracing for a public outcry, according to people who have recently spoken with some high-ranking officials about the prospect of a WikiLeaks release of bank documents.
If WikiLeaks reveals truly damaging information, Wall Street regulators may in a particularly awkward situation: they'll end up being scooped by an organization that has been branded as a terrorist group.