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Bank of America Cuts Off WikiLeaks Payments

by Rick Rothacker

Bank of America Corp. Friday evening said it was joining other financial institutions in declining to process payments intended for WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks has gained attention in recent months for revealing Pentagon and State Department secrets. Founder Julian Assange has also said he plans a "megaleak" involving a major bank, leading to speculation that Bank of America could be the target.

"Bank of America joins in the actions previously announced by MasterCard, PayPal, Visa Europe and others and will not process transactions of any type that we have reason to believe are intended for WikiLeaks," the bank said in a statement.

"This decision is based upon our reasonable belief that WikiLeaks may be engaged in activities that are, among other things, inconsistent with our internal policies for processing payments."

Companies that have cut ties to WikiLeaks have faced cyberattacks from hackers who back Assange's organization. MasterCard, for example, said its Web site was brought down but that card transactions were not compromised.

Assange told Forbes magazine last month that he planned to release information on a major bank early next year. In a 2009 interview, he said he had possession of a Bank of America executive's hard drive, but the bank has said it has "no evidence" that is the case.

The bank on Friday declined to comment on whether it could be a leak target or whether it could face attacks from hackers.

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