"Could the government have asked Bank of America and Merrill Lynch executives to keep quiet about the size of Merrill problems? Officially, of course, the answer is "no, absolutely not." And it's probably true that no one directly told Bank of America chief executive Ken Lewis not to disclose the losses to shareholders. But a few winks and nods can go a long way. We're betting that Lewis, at least, believed he was sticking to the script when he went quiet about Merrill."

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