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July 2, 2013

Five famous whistleblowers and the secrets they revealed

As he continues to evade U.S. authorities, Edward Snowden joins a list of famous people who blew the whistle on private and government scandals. It is not yet known what kind of long-term impact Snowden's leak may have.

Mark Felt, a.k.a "Deep Throat"

Associate Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigtion until his retirement in 1973, Mark Felt gave Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein information on what would become the Watergate burglary scandal. The scandal led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

Felt denied involvement until revealing himself as "Deep Throat," in 2005.

Sherron Watkins

As Vice President of Corporate Development at the Enron Corporation, Sherron Watkins alerted her Enron superiors of accounting irregularities. Shareholders and employees lost billions in pensions and stock prices.

Watkins has been criticized for not making the irregularities known sooner, as it took five months for her initial report to reach the public.

Revelations about Enron led to lawsuits, the eventual bankruptcy of the Enron Corporation, and criminal charges, trials and prison sentences for multiple executives.

 

Daniel Ellsberg

In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg, a former United States military analyst, released the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret Pentagon study of the choices made by the U.S. government regarding the Vietnam War, to various national newspapers.

The leak revealed many secret government decisions, among them that four presidential administrations had misled the public about their intentions regarding Vietnam.

Jeffrey Wigand

Jeffrey S. Wigand is a former employee at Brown and Williamson, who worked on the development of reduced-harm cigarettes.

Wigand appeared on 60 Minutes in 1996 and stated that his company had intentionally increased the amount of nicotine in cigarettes. 

Wigand said he was harassed and received death threats affter his appearance on the program. He now works as a lecturer and consultant and was portrayed by Russell Crowe in the 1999 film The Insider.

Bradley Manning

Currently suspected of having shared classified material with WikiLeaks, Bradley Manning is an army soldier who was arrested in 2010.

He has been charged with multiple offenses, including communicating national defense information to an unauthorized source and aiding the enemy.

Information was compiled from Whistleblowers.org, The New York TImes, The Washington Post, The Library of Congress and IMDB.com.

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