Immediately following Julian Assange's assertion that his organization, WikiLeaks, planned to shed light on an "ecosystem of corruption" at a top American bank, Bank of America's stock dropped 3 percent. Though Assange has not explicitly linked BofA with the upcoming information release, many on Wall Street believe that the country's largest bank will soon find itself facing a deluge of bad press—and maybe criminal charges.
The bank itself may well be among the believers. The New York Times reports today that Bank of America has authorized a massive internal investigation of both possible security breaches and possible instances of corrupt or criminal activity, presumably in order to cover their bases ahead of a potentially damning release.
The Times also reports that the bank has hired Booz Allen Hamilton to help oversee the investigation. It's an interesting choice by CEO Brian Moynihan and the BofA crew; there's no question that Booz Allen is among the country's top consultancies, but there have been questions (books, even) about the firm's extremely close ties to federal government officials past and present.
Is Bank of America cozying up to the federal government—itself a sworn enemy of Assange following the release of WikiLeaks-obtained diplomatic cables—by hiring Booz Allen advisors on a similar case? Sure, it's a stretch, but when a consulting firm counts former NSA heads and national intelligence directors (James Clapper, a former Booz Allen exec, currently boasts that title) among its active leaders, it's no stretch to assume that currying favor with Booz Allen might do a bit of the same with the feds. At the very least, the firm can weigh in on how best to handle sensitive issues vis-à-vis the federal government, Booz Allen's biggest and most important client.
For more information:
New York Times
- Sam Reynolds
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