Speaking the Truth: The Top 9 Most Famous Whistleblowers of All Time


Some people see whistleblowers as heroes while others see them as some of the biggest traitors. It does not matter what your stand is on whistleblowers many of them have made an impact throughout the years. There are many famous whistleblowers that have risked their lives and their careers to expose things they felt were wrong.

We are sharing some of the most famous whistleblowers in American history below.

1. Coleen Rowley

Coleen Rowley was an FBI agent that had reported her suspicion about Zacarias Moussaoui. Zacarias Moussaoui was one of the suicide attackers in the September 11th terrorist attack. Coleen had put in a request to search Zacarias Moussaoui’s home but they denied her request.

If her request had been granted the 9/11 attacks could have more than likely been avoided. Later on, she submitted her evidence to the 9/11 commission. She is ranked as one of the most famous whistleblowers of our time.

2. Frank Serpico

He was a brave New York City police officer that was determined to expose all of the wrongs around him. He could not believe all of the corruption in the police department. After several attempts to report all the corruption to his superiors, he went to the New York Times because his superiors were not doing anything about it.

Unfortunately, after his bravery, he was shot in the face during a raid, soon after he retired and moved out of the country. You can watch the 1973 movie called Serpico where he is played by Al Pacino and they go into more detail about his story.

3. Mark Felt

Who is not familiar with the Watergate scandal? This is by far one of the most famous stories in American politics that led to the end of Richard Nixon’s presidency, back in 1974. Mark Felt was the secret FBI informant of the articles that were published in the Washington Post.

It was not until 2005 that his identity was revealed. For all those years he denied having any part in the Watergate scandal. He told Vanity Fair “I’m the guy they called Deep Throat” when he finally revealed who he was.

4. Peter Buxton

He was an employee of U.S. Public Health Service that exposed the Tuskegee syphilis experiment. He too has become one of the most famous whistleblowers because he exposed that many people that had Tuskegee syphilis were left untreated on purpose.

Those people were misled and used as experiments for four decades. He was protesting to those in charge where he worked but he was ignored. After several times of being ignored, he went to the press and informed them of what he found and knew which ended up exposing this cruel experiment.

5. Daniel Ellsberg

In 1971 Daniel Ellsberg leaked a top-secret Pentagon study of the United States’ government during the Vietnam War. These documents became known as the Pentagon Papers and were widely published by the Washington Post, the New York Times, and several other newspapers.

In 1998 during an interview, he went on to say that the public is lied to by the president, the president’s officers, and his spokespeople every day. Daniel Ellsberg has become an activist since the release of the Pentagon Papers. In 2006 he was given an award for his work.

6. Bradley Manning

Bradley Manning was a former intelligence analyst while deployed in Iraq when he downloaded diplomatic and military information and shared them on WikiLeaks. This included over 500,000 army reports and combat videos that were classified.

One of the videos is on Youtube where it shows a United States Apache helicopter opening fire on a group of civilians in Baghdad. His leaks surfaced in 2010 and caused a disturbance in politics in both the Middle East and in the United States.

He served 7 years in prison out of a 35-year sentence after President Obama granted Bradley Manning clemency during his final days in office. Cases like this are where The Whistleblower Lawyer is necessary to help a whistleblower fight against the current.

7. Julian Assange

The famous WikiLeaks website that was created in 2006 was founded by Julian Assange. He is the founder and the editor-in-chief. WikiLeaks has been responsible for over a million leaks to date. In 2019 he was arrested and a month later sentenced to 50 weeks in a United Kingdom prison.

Nowadays Julian Assange is in a prison in south-east London and it said to be very ill.

8. Jeffrey Wigand

Jeffrey became known when he claimed in 1996 on the show 60 Minutes that cigarette companies knew they were packing cigarettes with addictive nicotine levels. He used to be the former tobacco company executive until he spoke up. After this, he made multiple enemies for speaking up the truth about what he knew.

The movie The Insider came out in 1999 where he is played by actor Russell Crowe.

9. Karen Silkwood

After exposing corporate practices in a nuclear facility Karen Silkwood became famous. She was a chemical technician that leaked information related to the health and safety of workers. In 1974 she died mysteriously in a one-car crash.

In 1983, there was a movie called Silkwood where Meryl Streep played Karen. The movie shares Karen Silkwood’s story up until her mysterious death.

Now You Are Familiar With the Most Famous Whistleblowers of All Time

The list of famous whistleblowers above is not all-inclusive. There have been many more that have put everything at risk to expose truths. Many of them have had an influence on how people see the government and private firms.

Did you enjoy learning about whistleblowers? Please check back often to always stay in the know!

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