Top 10 Whistleblowers of the History

Whistleblower is a person who informs on a person or organization engaged in an illicit activity. It means someone who’s going to tell the public about illegal activities done by organizations or a well-known personality. According to some analysts, the Panama papers is the biggest leak in all whistleblower history which was happened earlier this month of April 2016. The news broke and became the most talked issue of the journalists and other media organization. Unlike in the past there were whistleblowers who had names appeared on the same issue, there is no one to ask about the Panama Papers because the person who did gave the information has no name and didn’t show himself publicly. Maybe because he think that there is no such thing like protection for whistleblowers. While we are talking about whistleblowers and leakage, let us go back and recall some of the most greatest whistleblowers in the history.


John Paul Vann, United States Army 1963

John Paul Vann is an american colonel during the Vietnam War who reported to his superiors that American policy and tactics were seriously flawed, and later went to the media with his concerns. He was asked to resign his commission and he did it but later, he returned to Vietnam.

Ernest Fitzgerald, United States Department of Defense 1973

He is an auditor of the U.S Department of Defense who was fired in 1973 by President Richard M. Nixon for exposing to the Congress the tidal wave of cost overruns associated with Lockheed’s C-5A cargo plane. After protracted litigation he was reinstated to the civil service and continued to report cost overruns and military contractor fraud, including discovery in the 1980s that the Air Force was being charged $400 for hammers and $600 for toilet seat. He retired from the Defense Department in 2016.

Mordechai Vanunu, Israeli Nuclear Weapons Program 1986

He revealed Israel’s clandestine nuclear program to the British press. He spent seventeen and a half years in prison as a result, the first eleven of these in solitary confinement. After his release, sanctions were placed on him: among others, he was not allowed to leave Israel or speak to foreigners. The sanctions have been renewed every twelve months. At present, he is appealing a further six-month prison sentence imposed by an Israeli court for having spoken to foreigners and foreign press.

Jeffrey Wigand, Brown and Williamson 1996

He was the vice president of research and development at tobacco company Brown & Williamson and recently got fired when he stated on the CBS news program 60 minutes that the company intentionally manipulated the level of nicotine in cigarette smoke to addict smokers. He also claims that he was harassed and received anonymous death threats. The film about him called The Insider was portrayed by Russell Crowe in 1999.

Karen Kwiatkowski, United States Air Force 2000

She was a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force who worked as a desk officer in The Pentagon and in a number of roles in the National Security Agency. She has written a number of essays on corrupting political influences of military intelligence leading up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and has said that she was the anonymous source for Seymour Hersh and Warren Strobel on their exposes of pre-war intelligence.

Robert MacLean, United States Transportation Security Administration 2003

He is a U.S. Federal Air Marshal who exposed the TSA’s agency-wide plan to remove Federal Air Marshals from nonstop, long distance flights for two months in order to avoid expenditures associated with air marshals lodging in hotels overnight. The plan was formulated in response to a budget shortfall due to overspending. The plan was formulated three days after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security(DHS) issued an Advisory that warned the airline industry and law enforcement of a suicide hijacking plot in which terrorists could exploit U.S. immigration and airport security loopholes. After outrage from U.S. Senators Hillary Clinton, Charles Schumer, Barbara Boxer, and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, TSA’s plan was rescinded before becoming operational. HE was fired after DHS discovered he disclosed the plan.

Justin Hopson, New Jersey State Police 2007

He witnessed an unlawful arrest and false report made by his training officer during his first few days as a rookie New Jersey State Trooper. He was subject to hazing and harassment by hi fellow troopers when he refused to testify in support of the illegal arrest. He uncovered evidence of a secret society within the State Police known as the Lords of Discipline, whose mission it was to keep fellow troopers in line. Trooper Hopson blew the whistle on the Lords of Discipline, which sparked the largest internal investigation in State Police history. Hopson filed a federal lawsuit alleging that after he refused to support the arrest, Hopson was physically assaulted, received threatening notes, and his car was vandalized while on duty. In 2007, the State of New Jersey agreed to a $400,000 settlement with Hopson. Justin Hopson and his book were featured on ABC News 20/20 “Confessions of a Cop” in 2012 and “Crossing the Line” in 2014.

Chelsea Manning, United states Army 2010

Chelsea Manning was an analyst at the US Army Intelligence who released the largest set of classified documents mostly published by WikiLeaks and their media partners. Those materials included videos of the July 12, 2007 airstrike in Baghdad and airstrike in Granai in 2009. There were 250,000 United States diplomatic cables and 500,000 army reports that came to be unknown as the Iraq War logs and Afghan War logs. He was convicted of violating the Espionage Act and other offenses and sentenced to 35 years in prison.

Silver Meikar, Estonian Reform Party 2012

In May 2012 Silver Meikar published an article about, admitting that he had donated cash to Estonian Reform Party in 2009 and 2010, which was came from unknown sources and given him by co-politician Kalev Lillo. According to a proposition made by Kristen Michal, Reform Party’s secretary general. The scandal became known as Silvergate. Lillo and Michal were presented with criminal charges. After a long and heated discussion in media, charges were dropped, as it was not possible to gather enough evidence. On October 24, 2012, Meikar was expelled from the party. Consequently, Kristen Michal stepped down as the minister of justice.

Edward Snowden, National Security Agency 2013

He is an American computer professional who copied leaked classified information from the National Security Agency in 2013 without prior authorization. He was hired by Booz Allen Hamilton, an NSA contractor. On May 20, 2013, Edward Snowden flew to Hong Kong after leaving his job at an NSA facility in Hawaii and in early June 2013 he revealed thousands of classified NSA documents to journalists Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Ewen MacAskill. He came to international attention after stories based on the material appeared in The Guardian and The Washington Post. Further disclosures were made by other newspapers including Der Spiegel and The New York Times

These are our list of top ten whistleblowers in the history.