The Honorable History Of Whistleblowing
Above photo: Drake, Kiriakou and Rowley learned whistleblowing comes at a price. | AP Photos
Your editor has just returned from a meeting of the Fund for Constitutional Government which helps to support the Government Accountability Project, a big friend of government whistleblowers, including Edward Snowden. I asked GAP’s sainted Louis Clark how many whistleblowers they were handling these days and his estimate was 50, with another 50 being assisted in some way.
The media, embedded as it is in the official version of Washington life, doesn’t let the public know how important whistleblowing is to decent government, not infrequently implying that revealing the truth is some sort of dirty – or disloyal – trick. This list of whistleblowers over the years, compile by GAP, may help to counterbalance the Washington view – Sam Smith
1773 – Confidential letters exposed by Benjamin Franklin proved the governor of Massachusetts misled Parliament to promote a military buildup in the new world. The governor was dishonorably discharged and exiled.
1777 – US naval officers Samuel Shaw and Richard Marven revealed the torture of British POWs by the commander-in-chief of the Continental Navy. The following year, the Continental Congress unanimously enacted the first whistleblower protection law.
1872 – Julius Chambers, one of America’s first investigative journalists, admitted himself to New York’s Bloomingdale Insane Asylum and published an exposé proving patient abuse. 12 patients were subsequently released and laws were substantially re-written.
1906 – Upton Sinclair exposes conditions inside Chicago pig slaughterhouses through his novel, The Jungle.
1933 – Through secret congressional testimony and a book entitled War is a Racket, retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler exposed government corruption known as “The Business Plot” that aimed to overthrow FDR’s presidency.
1962 – Through her watershed book Silent Spring, Rachel Carson exposed the residual effects of DDT chemicals on animals and humans, inspiring the widespread ban on DDT chemicals that went into effect in 1972.1963 – John Paul Vann, an American colonel, reported to his superiors (and, later, the media) that American policy and tactics during the Vietnam War were seriously flawed. He was asked to resign his commission.
1966 – Congressional aide James Boyd and secretary Marjorie Carpenter expose documents from the office of Senator Thomas Dodd to show Dodd used more than $200,000 in unreported campaign funds for personal expenses. Dodd is censured and loses his seat in the next election.
1968 – A. Ernest Fitzgerald, a Department of Defense auditor, reports a $2.3 billion cost overrun in the Lockheed C-5 aircraft program. President Nixon reportedly tells aides to fire Fitzgerald, but he’s reinstated four years later. In the late 1980s, Fitzgerald plays a part in the investigation that reveals the Pentagon has purchased $200 hammers and $900 toilet seats.
1969 – Vietnam veteran Ron Ridenhour, an ex-Army helicopter gunner, writes a letter to Congress and the Pentagon describing events at My Lai during the Vietnam War, including the torture, sexual abuse, mutilation and mass murder of hundreds of unarmed civilians.
1970 – After police officer Frank Serpico reports police corruption to his superiors for several years and no action is taken, he approaches The New York Times with a story that ultimately forces New York City mayor John Lindsay to establish a commission to investigate police corruption.
1971 – Daniel Ellsberg, a former US military analyst and government contractor, discloses a classified government study about the Vietnam War later known as the Pentagon Papers. Ellsberg’s act proved several administrations had directly lied to Congress and the public about their intentions and actions in Vietnam. This led to protests, contributed to the resignation of Nixon, and emboldened the media when the Supreme Court decided against prior restraint in New York Times Co. v. United States.
1971 – NSA intelligence analyst Perry Fellwock exposed secret surveillance practices in an interview with Ramparts magazine under the pseudonym Winslow Peck. Legislation was passed in 1973 to stop the NSA from spying, but later ignored.
1972 – While working for the US Public Health Service, Peter Buxtun realizes the agency is studying the effects of syphilis by monitoring 399 African-American men who are neither told they have the disease nor treated for it. After Buxtun takes the story to the press and a series of Congressional hearings are held, a $10 million class-action settlement is paid to victims and their families.
1972 – After a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate complex, Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncover ties between the break-in and the White House. Anonymous source “Deep Throat” gives reporters information that eventually leads to President Nixon’s resignation. In 2005, Deep Throat is revealed to be W. Mark Felt, former associate director of the F.B.I.
1974 – Union activist Karen Silkwood, a technician at the Kerr-McGee plutonium fuels production plant in Oklahoma, is in the process of gathering evidence about plant safety negligence when she is killed in a mysterious car crash.
1975 – GE engineers Gregory Minor, Richard Hubbard and Dale Bridenbaugh reveal safety issues at nuclear power plants and subsequently resign. Over the next 15 years, more than 500 additional whistleblowers disclose further issues, resulting in the halting of construction of three plants and the overhaul of the Three Mile Island clean up.
1977 – Frank Camps, a senior principal design engineer with Ford Motor Company, warns Ford the design of the Pinto is unsafe. The vehicle is later withdrawn from the market after numerous accidents result in burn injuries due to its flawed design.
1977 – Frank Snepp, a CIA analyst at the US Embassy in Saigon, published Decent Interval about Operation Frequent Wind and failure to prepare for the fall of Saigon. Names, methods and sources were redacted from the book, but CIA Director Stansfield Turner had Snepp prosecuted for breach of contract, resulting in the loss of all income from the book’s publication.
1983 – Richard Parks, an engineer with Bechtel Corp. blows the whistle on the cleanup of a nuclear reactor on Three Mile Island – the worst nuclear power plant accident in American history. Parks noted Bechtel and their hiring company, General Public Utilities, were rushing the cleanup by ignoring regulations set forth by the Nuclear Regulator Commission. Funds were supplied to Bechtel for each cleanup task, but only after completion of the previous tasks, incentivizing them to cut corners and rush their work. After blowing the whistle, Parks was relocated and then fired. After the conclusion of drawn out legal proceedings, Parks’ disclosures led the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to halt and then revamp the entire cleanup process at Three Mile Island.
1984 – John Michael Gravitt, a machinist foreman at General Electric, sued GE for defrauding the U.S. Department of Defense when GE began falsely billing for work on the B1 Lancer bomber. The case led to federal legislation bolstering the False Claims Act in 1986 that made it easier for whistleblowers to collect damages and a record settlement for Gravitt.
1985 – Ronald J. Goldstein was a supervisor at EBASCO, a contractor for the construction of Houston Lighting and Power Company’s South Texas Project. He reported safety problems to an internal compliance program, but was fired. He then filed suit under federal nuclear whistleblower statutes but lost after a ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals cited the lack of whistleblower protections for private programs. Congress then amended federal nuclear whistleblower law.
1986 – Auditor Casey Ruud testified to Congress about missing plutonium, and public and worker health dangers, at the nation’s nuclear weapons reservation in Hanford, Washington. His testimony led to the halting of plutonium production in the US two years prior to the end of the Cold War.
1990 – Arnold Gundersen, a senior vice-president at consulting firm Nuclear Energy Services, discovered radioactive material in an NES accounting safe. Three weeks after he notified the company president of what he believed to be radiation safety violations, he was fired. The Office of the Inspector General later reported the Nuclear Regulatory Commission had violated its own rules by hiring NES.
1995 – Jeffrey Wigand, former vice-president for research and development for tobacco company Brown & Williamson, is interviewed by 60 Minutes and discloses the company misled consumers about how addictive and hazardous cigarettes are.
1995 – EPA veteran William Sanjour won a landmark lawsuit against the federal government which established the First Amendment rights of federal employees to criticize their employer.
1996 – David Franklin files a whistleblower lawsuit against Warner-Lambert exposing illegal promotion of the drug Neurontin. The ensuing investigation uncovers illegal industry-wide practices and results in a $430 million penalty to resolve criminal and civil charges.
1996 – Senior nuclear engineer George Galatis reported safety problems at the Millstone 1 Nuclear Power Plant relating to reactor refueling procedures. Galatis eventually took his concerns to the NRC only to find they had known about the unsafe procedures for years.
1998 – Marc Hodler was an International Olympic Committee member who blew the whistle on the Winter Olympic bid scandal for the 2002 Salt Lake City games. Accusations included members taking bribes from the Salt Lake Organizing Committee during the bidding process. Ultimately, several IOC members were expelled and the IOC adopted new rules.
1999 – Frank Casey was an equity specialist manager who discovered a money manager, Bernard Madoff, generating a suspect 12% return for investors. He took his findings to Harry Markopolos, a financial fraud investigator, who submitted documents to the SEC multiple times showing that Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme. Madoff is arrested and charged with securities fraud, but not until 2008 when losses to investors are estimated at $18 billion. Madoff is convicted and sentenced to 150 years.
1999 – Cathy Harris, a former senior inspector for the U.S. Customs Service (USCS) at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, disclosed to the media the USCS practice of discriminatory racial profiling. She verified that women of African descent were targeted as possible drug couriers when only 3% of those women were actually carrying drugs, whereas drugs were found on 30% of white travelers detained and searched. Harris’ revelations resulted in a landmark GAO study of USCS profiling practices, and federal legislation to reform these unconstitutional practices.
2000 – Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, a senior policy analyst in the Office of the Administrator at the EPA, blew the whistle on the EPA for racial and gender discrimination in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The case eventually led to the passing of the No-FEAR Act in 2002 making federal agencies more accountable to employees.
2001 – Joseph Nacchio was chairperson and CEO of Qwest when it refused to participate in NSA spying on its customers in February 2001. Qwest was the only telecom company to demand a FISA court order to hand over its customer records.
2001 – Bogdan Dzakovic served as a leader for the FAA’s Red Team, which conducts mock raids on airports in order to determine if airlines are equipped to thwart hijackers. Breaching security with ease (a 90% rate), Red Team members repeatedly warned that America’s airports were vulnerable, including Boston’s Logan Airport used by hijackers a few months later on 9/11. The FAA ordered the Red Team not to write up its reports, not to retest to check if security breaches had been fixed, and proceeded to forewarn airlines when the Red Team was planning to test security. After 9/11, Dzakovic blew the whistle on this abuse of secrecy.
2001 – Technical Director William Binney and Senior Analyst J. Kirk Wiebe retired from the National Security Agency after trying to blow the whistle on NSA’s gross mismanagement and waste in connection with the failed data collection program known as Trailblazer.
2001 – John Munsell, a small-business owner and meat grinder, reported that a giant packing company (ConAgra) was the source of E. coli-tainted meat at his plant. His disclosures, along with deaths from the E. coli-tainted beef, spurred one of the largest recalls in history, though as much as 80% of the potentially tainted shipment had already been consumed.
2001 – Kathryn Bolkovac is a former police investigator who served as an International Police Task Force human rights investigator in Bosnia. She cooperated with Human Rights Watch to expose the misconduct and human rights abuses committed against young girls, forced into prostitution and used as sex slaves by U.S. military contractors and other UN-related police and international organizations.
2001 – Sherron Watkins was Vice President of Corporate Development at Enron. She is considered by many to be the whistleblower who helped to uncover the Enron scandal in 2001, as she alerted then-CEO Ken Lay to accounting irregularities within the company, warning that Enron ‘might implode in a wave of accounting scandals.’
2001 – Jack Spadaro headed the National Mine Safety and Health Academy when the Martin County Coal Slurry Spill occurred in October 2000, spilling 300 million gallons of coal slurry into 100 miles of streams in Kentucky and West Virginia. He participated in the federal investigation of that disaster and found evidence that the owner and operator of the impoundment dam had prior knowledge of problems with the mine. Spadaro refused to sign off on an erroneous report and resigned his position before going public with his evidence of gross wrongdoing.
2002 – Department of Justice Ethics Advisor Jesselyn Radack warned FBI agents who sought to interrogate “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh without his legal counsel present.
2002 – Cynthia Cooper is an American accountant who formerly served as the VP of Internal Audit at WorldCom. She and her team of auditors worked together to investigate and unearth $3.8 billion in fraud at WorldCom, the largest incident of accounting fraud in U.S. history at the time.
2002 – Coleen Rowley of the F.B.I. outlined the agency’s slow response time to reports of suspicious activity before the 9/11 attacks. She jointly held the TIME Person of the Year award in 2002 with Sherron Watkins and Cynthia Cooper.
2003 – Robert MacLean is a Federal Air Marshal (FAM) who revealed a cost-cutting plan to cancel FAM coverage from long-distance flights on the eve of a confirmed al-Qaeda suicidal hijacking.
2003 – Justice Department attorney Thomas Tamm became aware of a program that bypassed the 11-member Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) court and allowed the Attorney General to sign wiretap requests without the court’s review. After Tamm’s inquiries repeatedly ran into walls of silence, he contacted The New York Times, which ran a Pulitzer Prize-winning cover story about the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program.
2003 – Jon Oberg, while working at the Department of Education as a researcher, discovered illegal payments to student loan lenders of federal tax dollars that department officials instructed him not to investigate. On his own time, he researched the payments and reported them to Congress, which in 2004 ended the payments prospectively, saving billions of dollars. In 2007, Oberg sued the recipients under the False Claims Act. Three years later, the Department of Justice announced it had settled four of the cases for over $57 million.
2003 – British government translator Katharine Gun leaks an e-mail detailing illegal activities by the US and UK in their push to invade Iraq. In the document, a U.S. National Security Agency official requests British help with spying on UN diplomats. Gun is arrested and charged with crimes before the case is finally dropped in 2004.
2004 – Food and Drug Administration safety officer David Graham breaks ranks with his employer and testifies to the U.S. Senate that Merck’s blockbuster arthritis drug Vioxx has killed as many Americans as the Vietnam War. Merck is forced to withdraw Vioxx from the market, and the F.D.A.’s reputation is severely tarnished.
2004 – Sergeant Joseph Darby provides photos to the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command of torture and abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, triggering an investigation that leads to prison, dishonorable discharge and reprimands for 11 soldiers.
2004 – Samuel Provance, system administrator for U.S. Army Military Intelligence at the Abu Ghraib prison, publicly revealed the role of interrogators in the abuses, as well as general efforts to cover up the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse itself.
2004 – Victoria Hampshire, an FDA veterinarian, discovered that a popular heartworm medication for dogs was killing hundreds of animals. Her analysis and reports pulled the drug off the market. Drugmaker Wyeth Pharmaceuticals then conducted a smear campaign against her and used its influence with the FDA to have her criminally investigated.
2004 – Gerald W. Brown, a former firestop contractor and consultant, uncovered the Thermo-lag circuit integrity scandal and silicone foam scandals in U.S. and Canadian nuclear power plants, which led to Congressional proceedings as well as Provincial proceedings in the Canadian Province of Ontario concerning deficiencies in passive fire protection.
2004 – Peter Rost, former vice president of Pfizer, reported accounting irregularities and other issues to US authorities, leading to a criminal investigation of Pfizer’s marketing practices. After he was terminated, Rost authored a book detailing illegal business practices he witnessed at the pharmaceutical company.
2005 – Rick Piltz, a senior associate in the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, resigns over the White House’s attempt to interfere with the program’s findings and manipulate them to overstate the degree of scientific uncertainty about human causes of climate change.
2005 – National Security Agency Senior Executive Thomas Drake identified a massively wasteful and ineffective program that sacrificed security and privacy. Drake reported the program first using all proper internal channels (NSA, Congress, DoD IG), then later to a reporter in 2005. Prosecuted under the Espionage Act, he saw his case collapse by June 2011. Nonetheless, he was forced to mount a crushing legal battle for four years and his career was destroyed.
2005 – While working at UBS bank in Switzerland, banker Bradley Birkenfeld realizes that managers at the bank are encouraging American clients to evade taxes by putting their money in offshore accounts. Despite the recovery of billions of taxpayer dollars and the fact that he has helped to end the illegal UBS tax fraud scheme, Birkenfeld is ordered to serve a 40-month prison sentence.
2005 – Dr. Susan Wood served as FDA Assistant Commissioner for Women’s Health for five years. When she concluded in 2005 that Bush administration politics was tying up the approval of Plan-B, not the safety or efficacy of this “morning-after pill,” she resigned, stating that FDA science was being held captive by the “pro-life movement.”
2005 – Bunnatine “Bunny” H. Greenhouse, former chief civilian contracting officer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, exposed illegality in the no-bid contracts for reconstruction in Iraq by a Halliburton subsidiary.
2005 – Shawn Carpenter, an employee of Sandia (Dept. of Energy research and development national laboratory), discovered that a sophisticated group of hackers were systematically penetrating computer networks at major U.S. defense contractors, military installations and government agencies to access sensitive information. He went on to voluntarily work with the U.S. Army and the FBI to address the problem, but Sandia terminated his employment and revoked his security clearance.
2006 – Mark Klein, a retired communications technician for AT&T, revealed the details of the secret 2003 construction of a monitoring facility in San Francisco thought to be operated by the NSA as part of its warrantless surveillance program.
2006 – Cate Jenkins, a former EPA chemist, wrote memos to the EPA Inspector General, Congress and the FBI detailing the chemical composition of dust from the 9/11 attacks and its hazards to responders. She asserted the EPA lied about the known dangers of the dust which caused chemical burns in the lungs.
2006 – Adam B. Resnick exposed Medicare and Medicaid fraud by the pharmaceutical company Omnicare, a major supplier of drugs to nursing homes. Omnicare allegedly paid kickbacks to nursing home operators in order to secure business.
2006 – Frank Terreri joined the Federal Air Marshals Service after the 9/11 attacks and disclosed numerous security problems on behalf of 1,500 air marshals. He questioned policies that helped identify undercover air marshals and challenged endorsing news segments that revealed methods agents use to respond to hijacking. He was vindicated by the OSC in 2006.
2006 – Assistant plant manager Kenneth Kendrick from Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) blew the whistle on the origins of salmonella-tainted peanut butter that sickened hundreds and even killed several people in the US in 2008-09. Kendrick spoke on Good Morning America and disproved PCA’s defense that the batch of tainted peanut butter from the Georgia plant was an unexpected and isolated event.
2006 – James Hansen, climate scientist blew the whistle on NASA officials’ and the Bush administration’s attempts to silence him from speaking out about the dangers of global warming.
2006 – Gary Aguirre is a former SEC lawyer who reported wrongdoing by SEC officials for their failure to allow a proper investigation of one of the country’s leading hedge funds. Aguirre was dismissed following his attempt to subpoena John Mack, the future CEO of Morgan Stanley.
2006 – While evaluating $90 billion of mortgages Citigroup was buying from Countrywide and other lenders, former Citigroup vice president Richard Bowen tried to warn about the rise in defective mortgages. Bowen raised concerns that roughly 60% of prime mortgages were defective, as well as Citigroup’s practice of lowering its standards for subprime mortgage pools. In 2010 he testified before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission and continues to face repercussions as a whistleblower today.
2006 – Dr. Aubrey Blumsohn, a senior faculty member at Sheffield University, blew the whistle on data concealment and manipulation performed on behalf of Procter & Gamble regarding that company’s osteoporosis drug, Actonel.
2007 – Anonymous whistleblowers revealed malfeasance involving World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz and his top lieutenants. The improper hiring and pay raises of his intimate friends and the deletion of references to family planning in policy statements led to his resignation two months later.
2007 – Kit Foshee blew the whistle on the ammoniation process used by his former employer Beef Products Inc. (BPI) on its low-grade beef product later known as “pink slime.”
2007 – While serving as a senior civilian Air Force aircraft mechanic, George Sarris discovered serious maintenance concerns with two types of aircraft critical for national security missions. Ultimately, he settled a Whistleblower Protection Act lawsuit with the Air Force.
2007 – Franz Gayl, a Marine Corps science adviser, exposed the fact that the Corps failed to provide American troops in Iraq with MRAPs in a timely manner that could have protected soldiers against improvised explosive devices and roadside bombs.
2007 – John Kiriakou is a CIA veteran who headed counterterrorism operations in Pakistan after 9/11, organized the team operation that captured suspected al-Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah, and refused to be trained in enhanced interrogation tactics. In 2007, Kiriakou gave an on-camera interview to ABC News where he disclosed that Zubaydah was waterboarded, explicitly calling it torture – making him the first CIA officer to publicly label the action as torture. His words also exposed the CIA’s torture program as policy, rather than the actions of rogue agents.
2007 – James Wasserstrom served with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations as a senior official at UNMIK from 2002-08. In 2007, he alleged internal corruption involving UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative (SRSG) Joachim Ruecker, Principal Deputy SRSG Stephen Schook, and UNMIK Legal Advisor Alexander Borg-Olivier.
2008 – While overhauling security for a major telecommunications company (independently identified as Verizon), computer security expert Babak Pasdar discovered the “Quantico Circuit” at the company’s facility that surreptitiously re-routed and captured all customer mobile phone communications. Pasdar’s findings were one of the pioneering disclosures that exposed the full extent of domestic spying on Americans.
2008 – Dr. Kunal Saha came forward with evidence that World Bank funds had been used for years to purchase defective test kits designed to detect the presence of HIV/AIDS in blood samples.
2009 – Gabe Bruno was a former FAA Manager of the Orlando Flight Standards District Office. He alleged the FAA lacks a national security screening mechanism for mechanics with fraudulent certificates, leaving the industry open to potential terrorism.
2009 – Dr. Dean Wyatt, a former USDA Public Health Veterinarian, discovered humane handling violations at two slaughter plants in Oklahoma and Vermont. Though he was reprimanded and subjected to retaliation, he was ultimately vindicated by an undercover video released in 2009.
2009 – Former head of corporate communications at CIGNA Wendell Potter testified against the HMO industry in the US Senate and authored the book Deadly Spin, detailing industry-wide deceitful tactics.
2009 – Renee Dufault is a former FDA health researcher who retired after she was pressured to stop investigating traces of mercury found in high fructose corn syrup. In January 2009, she published her findings in a peer-reviewed journal.
2009 – John Kopchinski is a former Pfizer sales representative whose whistleblower lawsuit launched a massive government investigation into Pfizer’s illegal marketing of prescription painkiller Bextra. Part of a $2.3 billion global settlement, the case was the largest healthcare fraud settlement in U.S. history.
2009 – Four sales representatives for Eli Lilly – Robert Rudolph, Joseph Faltaous, Steven Woodward, and Jaydeen Vincente – filed separate qui tam lawsuits against the company for illegally marketing the drug Zyprexa for uses not approved by the FDA, including the treatment of dementia in the elderly.
2010 – Samy Kamkar is a computer hacker who exposed the illicit global mobile phone tracking of all users, regardless of GPS or Location Services settings, on the Apple iPhone, Google Android and Microsoft Windows Phone mobile devices, and their transmission of GPS and Wi-Fi information to their parent companies.
2010 –Immediately following the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster in April 2010, Wilma Subra found evidence of serious health risks for clean-up workers and Gulf Coast residents from crude oil, aerosol forms of oil, and dispersant used on the spill.
2010 – Walt Tamosaitis was the Deputy Chief Process Engineer and Research & Technology Manager for the Waste Treatment Plant (WTP) at the Hanford Nuclear Site in Eastern Washington. After raising concerns about safety and operational issues, he was terminated in July 2010 by Bechtel.
2010 – Chelsea Manning, a U.S. Army intelligence analyst, was arrested for leaking 91,731 secret U.S. military reports about the war in Afghanistan, and 251,287 diplomatic cables from the State Department, including a classified airstrike video showing U.S. gunfire killing 11 civilians in Baghdad, including two Reuters journalists.
2011 – Peter Van Buren, a veteran Foreign Service Officer at the State Department authored the book We Meant Well, which exposed massive fraud while serving as the leader of two Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Iraq from 2009-10. It detailed how the U.S. wasted more than $44 billion in reconstruction efforts. In September 2012, he was forced to retire.
2011 – Eileen Foster, a former high-ranking official at Countrywide Financial and then Bank of America after its purchase of Countrywide in July 2008, exposed systemic fraud at Countrywide Financial and the corrupt activities of company officials that gave rise to the economic crisis.
2011 – Michael Winston was a high-level executive at Countrywide Financial tasked with writing a report about Countrywide’s succession planning and other governance issues to allay concerns expressed by Moody’s Credit Services. Winston refused to write the report as he had seen no succession plan, nor knew if one even existed. Soon afterward, his budget was frozen, his duties curtailed, and when Bank of America took over Countrywide in 2008, he was fired. His story was detailed in a 2011 New York Times story.
2011 – Christian Sanchez is a U.S. Border Patrol agent who was harassed after refusing overtime pay when there was no extra work to be performed at the Port Angeles, Washington office and briefing Congress about the waste of taxpayer dollars.
2012 – Larry Alt and Pete Forcelli, agents at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), helped expose issues surrounding the Operation Fast and Furious scandal, the program that resulted in federally-monitored guns ending up in the hands of Mexican drug cartels.
2012 – John Parsons was the Inspector General for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (“The Global Fund”) from 2008 to 2012. Under his leadership, the Office of the Inspector General revealed that up to two-thirds of certain Global Fund grants may have been lost to corruption through forged documents, improper bookkeeping, the diversion of donated prescription drugs to the black market, and other irregularities. The Global Fund’s Board terminated Parsons in November 2012.
2012 – Phyllis McKelvey is a retired USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) chicken inspector. Before leaving the USDA in 2010, McKelvy witnessed firsthand the damage the agency’s new poultry inspection model creates, including turning inspection duties over to company employees and increasing line speeds to the point where inspectors have only 1/3 of a second to view a carcass. Her concerns led her to start a petition asking the USDA to halt its plans, which gained more than 180,000 signatures.
2012 – Dr. Eric Ben-Artzi publicly came forward with his evidence of multi-billion dollar securities violations at Deutsche Bank. As an employee, he discovered and internally reported serious violations stemming from the Bank’s failure to report the value of its credit derivatives portfolio accurately.
2013 – Jim Schrier, a veteran USDA meat inspector, reported clear humane handling violations involving market hogs at a Tyson Foods slaughter facility. After raising concerns to his supervisor, he was sent to work at a facility 120 miles away. His wife started a Change.org petition that has gathered more than 180,000 signatures asking the USDA to move her husband back to his original post near their home.
2013 – USDA poultry inspector Sherry Medina has collected more than 70,000 signatures in a Change.org petition asking Tyson Foods to stop its excessive use of hazardous chemicals in poultry processing. Medina exposed the serious health issues that she and other inspectors have experienced while working at a Tyson plant in Albertville, Alabama.
2013 – Edward Snowden is a former Booz Allen Hamilton federal contractor employee who disclosed information regarding the NSA’s blanket surveillance of U.S. citizens through a secretive data-mining program that collects the phone records, e-mail exchanges, and Internet histories of hundreds of millions of people around the globe.