PayPal has admitted that its decision to pull the plug on donations services to WikiLeaks was taken after intervention from the US State Department.
Speaking at the Le Web conference in Paris, the company’s vice president of platform Osama Bedier announced that the decision to freeze the WikiLeaks account on 4 December had been influenced by a letter from the State Department claiming that the whistle-blowing site was engaged in illegal activities.
Bedier, speaking to TechCrunch, later clarified that the letter was sent directly to WikiLeaks and not to PayPal.
This was confirmed by State Department spokesperson Philip J Crowley, who said that the US government had nothing to do with PayPal’s decision to block donations to whistle-blowing site WikiLeaks.
In an announcement on his Twitter account, Crowley said: “The U.S. government did not write to PayPal requesting any action regarding#WikiLeaks. Not true.”
Credit card firms Visa and Mastercard have also cut their ties from the whistle-blowing site, suspending payment to WikiLeaks’ site from Visa or Mastercard-branded products, in a move that could see them facing legal action from one of the whistle-blowing site’s IT service providers DataCell.