Who is a whistleblower? He or she is a person who has access to internal information and activities of any specific organizations and thereby exposes any such pieces of information or activities which are illegal, detrimental and unethical. Over the years, a number of whistleblowers have hit the headlines for their shocking disclosure.
Let us see some of the important revelations made by these whistleblowers.
- Daniel Ellsberg:
A former employee of the Research and Development Corporation US exposed some of the secret and vivid accounts of the classified documents named ‘Pentagon Papers’ pertaining to some specific US strategies in Vietnam War. Among numerous things some documents specifically revealed that U.S had deliberately broadened the scale of the war through various bombings in the adjacent areas, none of which was reported in the mainstream media. Ellsberg was initially charged with Espionage Act of 1917 and theft of government property, which was later dropped.
- Mark Felt:
Known by his pseudonym ‘Deep Throat’, this FBI agent was the main whistleblower behind the revelation of the ‘Watergate Scandal’ that created a whirlpool of controversy in the Nixon Administration. The infamous scandal began in 1970 with a burglary at Democratic National Committee headquarters more or less explained the reason behind President Nixon’s huge victory in 1972 and ultimately led to his resignation in 1974. Felt disclosed many discrepancies- illegal activities undertaken by the members, abuses of power and the most shocking part that the President himself had initiated to cover up activities and deter the investigation after the burglary. Felt was charged with ‘Violation of Civil Rights’ but later pardoned by President Reagan.
- Linda Tripp:
Tripp was a U.S bureaucrat before she gained widespread recognition for disclosing the infamous Lewinsky Scandal. The scandal involved President Bill Clinton and his alleged sexual affair with the 22 year old Monica Lewinsky who was an intern at the White House. Monica confessed about the affair to Tripp who later on began to secretly record the telephonic conversations between the President and Monica. Though the President denied all accusations, but the alleged relationship was confirmed in the Grand Jury Trial and severely toppled Clinton’s support base.
- Julian Assange:
The founder of Wiki Leaks acquired global prominence in 2010 when the organization published series videos namely Cablegate, Collateral Murder and Afghanistan war logs. The controversy was intensified with a particular footage showing the US soldiers shooting civilians in Iraq from a helicopter.
Snowden is a former CIA employee who gained international recognition in 2013 after he disclosed the details of widespread internet and phone surveillance by the American Intelligence. The revelation clearly indicates that the US National Security Agency (NSA) was collecting telephone records of the American citizens which is a thorough breach of privacy. Though charged with the theft of government property, unauthorized communication and espionage, he has been currently given temporary asylum in Russia.
- Shanmugam Manjunath:
He was a Sales Officer at the Indian Oil Corporation who was shot dead for sealing two petrol pumps that were supplying adulterated fuels for several months. After one month of sealing, the pumps started to operate again and thus, he conducted a surprise raid and was shot dead by 2 employees of the petrol pump, near Lakhimpur Kheri, UP.
- Bradley Manning:
This US Army soldier provided the Wiki Leaks with the ‘Collateral Murder’ footage that shows the rampant killing of civilians in Iraq by the US soldiers. He also gave out the accounts of massive death tolls in Iraq; especially the rampant killings of unarmed civilians. He also brought into notice the scenarios of brutal torture conducted by the US army. However, the US government refused to investigate further into these and Manning is currently imprisoned with 21 charges including life sentence.
- Frank Serpico:
He was a former NYPD officer who brought the pictures of vehement corruptions and bribery within the police department in the forefront in the 1960s and 1970s. He became the first cop to testify against a fellow officer in the Knapp Commission in 1972. He was shot in 1971 during a drug raid which he survived. Following the hostility from other officers, Serpico left the force.
- Jeffrey Wigand:
He was a highly esteemed scientist working with Brown & Williamson, one of the largest tobacco companies in the 1990s.He was set to improve smoking but instead ended up revealing that the company was deliberately using Coumarin and other addictive levels of nicotine in their product. Wigand was sued by the company and was faced with vast amount of backlashes.
- Sherron Watkins:
A former executive of Enron Corporation, Sherron was named Times Magazine’s persons of the year in 2002 after she testified in the Enron Fraud Controversy. She alerted the CEO in 2001 about several accounting discrepancies within the company that could lead to larger financial complexities. She warned the CEO against Enron and testified in front of the Congressional Committees from the House and Senate investigating the demise of Enron.