Four Most Famous Whistleblowers in America

Confidential list of famous whistleblowers

Depending on which side you support, whistleblowers can either be a good or terrible thing. For many, it is a way to keep large corporations in check against unfair or illegal practices. For some entities, whistleblowers can be an obstacle to power and financial gain. Unfortunately, most, if not all, whistleblowers put their careers or their lives at risk to project the truth and protect consumers. Read on to learn more about the most famous whistleblowers in America.

The Man Who Brought Down an Administration

As the most famous whistleblower of the 20th century, a man using the cover name “Deep Throat,” along with co-whistleblowers Woodward and Bernstein revealed the truths of the Watergate scandal. In 1972, five men broke into the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate business complex. In their possession were address books with “W. House” inscribed on them. Mark Felt, known then as “Deep Throat,” oversaw this break in. Later, the investigation into the break-in revealed an attempted cover-up by the White House, the bugging of political opponents’ offices, and more. Moreover, this extensive list of illegal activities stemming from the Watergate break-in became known as the Watergate Scandal. It was not until 2005 that Mark Felt revealed his identity.

The Biggest Intelligence Leak in NSA’s History

Twenty-nine-year-old Edward Snowden is responsible for one of the most significant information leaks in U.S. political history. Snowden worked for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as a Technical Assistant and now works as a defense contractor. His actions lead to the leaking of approximately 7,000 top secret documents from the National Security Agency (NSA) detailing, among other things, global surveillance programs. According to an article by History, intelligence officials testified in 2014 that Snowden accessed1.7 million files. Unlike most famous whistleblowers, Snowden does not fear notoriety. His main goal is for news stories to focus on government actions and the age of dwindling individual privacy.

Holding Government Officials Responsible for Safety Concerns

Ernest Fitzgerald was an engineer and a member of the United States Air Force’s Senior Executive Service. In 1968, Fitzgerald was responsible for exposing numerous technical issues with the Lockheed C-5 transport plane. He testified to congress that these issues amounted to a $2.3 billion overrun cost, which also included various sensitive documents. However, the Nixon Administration ordered that Fitzgerald be fired for sharing the classified materials. Afterwards, Fitzgerald went on to co-found the project, Project on Government Oversight.

Exposing Secret Military Operations in Vietnam

Daniel Ellsberg was a military analyst for the Pentagon. Over the course of the Vietnam War, Ellsberg became increasingly concerned with the actions of the U.S. With the help of his friend, Anthony Russo, he photocopied a top-secret study on military involvement in Vietnam. The pair leaked the study to the American public when it received the moniker “The Pentagon Papers.” The Pentagon Papers exposed secret U.S.-ordered bombings and attacks in Vietnam that remained unreported to the media. These documents were distributed to fifteen news sources before Ellsberg and Russo were arrested. The case was subsequently dismissed on the grounds of government misconduct.

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