Jesselyn Radack, a DOJ lawyer, blew the whistle by telling Newsweek that the Department of Justice not only lied about, but also destroyed the evidence regarding John Walker Lindh’s interrogation and his parent’s attempts to get him a lawyer. The DOJ retaliated by pushing Radack out of the Department, getting her fired from her next job and attempting to get her law license revoked.
Jean Charles Rielle is a Swiss tobacco control advocate and alumni from the University of Geneva. Along with his colleague, Pascal Diethelm, Rielle revealed the secret ties of Ragnar Rylander, professor of environmental health, to the tobacco industry. In a public statement made in 2001, Pascal Diethelm and Jean-Charles Rielle accused Rylander of being “secretly employed by Philip Morris” and qualified of “scientific fraud without precedent” the concealment of his links with the tobacco industry for a period of 30 years, during which he publicly presented himself as an independent scientist, while at the same time covertly obeying orders given by Philip Morris executives and lawyers, publishing articles and organizing symposia which denied or trivialized the toxicity of secondhand smoke. After a long trial, which went all the way up to the Supreme court of Switzerland, all accusations were found to be true. Following this judgment, the University of Geneva prohibited its members from soliciting research subsidies or direct or indirect consultancies with the tobacco industry.
Alasdair Roberts authored a paper, entitled “Making Policy Behind Closed Doors”, wherein he criticized the Canadian Department of Human Resources Development (HRD) for the way it handled the Software Development Worker Pilot, which allowed for the fast tracking of visa applications of foreign workers. In his writings, Roberts exposed the fact that the Canadian government handed decision-making to a private organization named SHRC.
Dr. Peter Rost is a former Vice President at the pharmaceutical company Pfizer. He provided Congressional testimony, exposing business methods utilized by the pharmaceutical industry, including activities, including takeovers, kickbacks, layoffs, physician payoffs, marketing to juvenile patients, and tax dodging. Rost authored books entitled “The Whistleblower: Confessions of a Healthcare Hitman” and “Killer Drug”. He lost his job, although his valid disclosures were confirmed. A Pfizer subsidiary pleaded guilty in 2007 to a kickback scheme and promoting “off-label” uses of the growth hormone drug Genotropin.
Coleen Rowley served as a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. She exposed the FBI’s failure to act on the intelligence warnings preceding 9/11. She testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about serious problems plaguing the Bureau and the intelligence community as a whole. Rowley’s memorandum to FBI Director Robert Mueller, in connection with the Joint Intelligence Committee’s Inquiry, led to a two-year-long investigation by the DOJ Inspector General. She was named as a Time’s Person Of The Year in 2002, along with Sherron Watkins, the Enron whistleblower, and Cynthia Cooper, the WorldCom whistleblower.
Robert Rudolph is a former sales representative for Eli Lilly, who filed a Qui Tam lawsuit against the company, alleging that Eli Lilly was illegally marketing the drug Zyprexa for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Eli Lilly pled guilty to actively promoting Zyprexa for off-label uses, particularly for the treatment of dementia in the elderly. The $1.415 billion penalty included an $800 million civil settlement and a $515 million criminal fine—the largest criminal fine for an individual corporation in United States history. The four whistleblowers (Robert Rudolph, Joseph Faltaous, Steven Woodward and Jaydeen Vincente) shared 18%, or $78,870,877, of the federal share of the civil settlement.
William Sanjour is a whistleblower at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for over 20 years. Sanjour won a landmark law suit against the federal government which established the First Amendment rights of federal employees to “blow the whistle” on their employer, Sanjour v. EPA,56 F.3d 85 (D.C. Cir. 1995)(en banc).
George Sarris, a senior mechanic, blew the whistle on the 55th Wing for operating aircraft that were unsafe to fly. He reported these violations to the Office of Senator Charles Grassley. These allegations were later substantiated during several Department of Defense (DOD) investigations. The 55th Wing retaliated against the whistleblower by suspending his security clearance and conducting a proverbial witch hunt, seeking to uncover any derogatory information that would allow them to revoke Sarris’ security clearance permanently. In January 2011, an Administrative Law Judge recommended to the Department of the Air Force Personal Security Appeal Board (PSAB) that it overturn the action of the Air Force Central Adjudication Facility (AFCAF), and reinstate the whistleblower’s access to classified information. The PSAB disregarded the recommendation.
Frank Serpico, known to friends and family as “Paco” is a retired New York City Police officer who changed New York City operations by testifying about police corruption in 1971. His life story is recounted in the box office hit, “Serpico” starring Academy Award winner Al Pacino from a best- selling novel written on his life. Serpico received the department’s highest award for bravery, the NYPD Medal of Valor. He survived an assassination attempt on his life by fellow officers for making protected disclosures of police corruption.
William Schumer filed a lawsuit January, 1989 alleging fraud by Hughes Aircraft with respect to the B2 Bomber. In 1997 the Supreme Court held that the claim should have been dismissed as based on invalid retroactive legislation because the alleged fraud occurred in 1982-1984, before the 1986 amendments to the Fraudulent Claims Act which might have permitted it. The government did not support Schumer in his lawsuit as it had determined the alleged fraud had actually benefited the government by shifting costs from the cost-plus B-2 contract to the fixed-price F-15 contract.
Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer is a highly experienced intelligence officer, recipient of the Bronze Star, with 25 years of field experience. He has commanded and directed several key operational intelligence organizations, including Special Mission Task Force STRATUS IVY, that conducted direct support to DoD compartmented activities (OSD, SOCOM, JSOC, Army). Additionally, Shaffer was in charge of Field Operating Base (FOB) Alpha, a joint DIA/CIA unit conducting classified collection and special counterterrorism operations after the attacks of 9/11. In 2003, he made a whistleblowing disclosure to the 9/11 commission, regarding the existence of a pre-9/11 offensive counter-terrorism operation that had discovered several of the 9/11 terrorists a full year before the 9/11 attacks. This included support to the controversial counterterrorism project known as Able Danger – an offensive operation suite designed to detect, degrade and counter Al Qaeda capabilities prior to 9/11. In 2006, Shaffer testified before Congress on the pre-9/11, issues regarding serious systemic intelligence failures preceding the attacks. Nothing was ever done to correct these problems, while members of the Bush/Rumsfeld Department of Defense did everything within their power to destroy Shaffer’s 20-year career as a clandestine intelligence operative. In an attempt to discredit him and thereby invalidate his protected disclosures, in 2012 DOD expressed their intent to take away Shaffer’s well-deserved Bronze Star Medal, which he received for performance as an Operations Officer of the HUMINT Support Detachment in Afghanistan supporting CJTF 180 and CJTF 121. Shaffer authored a New York Times bestseller, “Operation Dark Heart”, which provides an unprecedented look at intelligence operations during a period in the war where a small number of operators were able to effectively control Afghanistan. Shaffer is a nationally recognized Subject Matter Expert (SME) on intelligence collection and policy, terrorism, data mining, situational awareness and adaptive/disruptive technologies. He is also a senior advisor to multiple organizations on terrorism and counterinsurgency issues and a member of the US Nuclear Strategy Forum. Shaffer frequently appears on national network television and is frequently quoted in print publications, as an established analyst regarding defense issues.
Karen Silkwood was the first nuclear whistleblower in the U.S. She discovered numerous health violations at the Kerr-McGee nuclear power plant, including exposure to high levels of nuclear contamination. Karen was killed in a mysterious automobile accident on the way to meet a New York Times reporter. She was portrayed by Academy Award winner Meryl Streep in a feature film “Silkwood”.
Craig E. Simmons is a whistleblower who exposed several multi-million dollar embezzlement schemes and cover-ups within the SAG-Pension and Health Plans by its former CEO Bruce Dow. Dow retired as CEO of the SAG Pension and Health Plans on April 30, 2012. Simmons is the veteran SAG P&H Plan high-ranking executive and attorney. Simmons was asked to stop his investigation and lie to authorities about the wrongdoing. When he refused, Simmons was fired and filed two lawsuits against the SAG-Pension and Health Plans.
Indira Singh worked as a risk management consultant for J.P. Morgan. In 2001, the firm tasked Singh with implementing the next generation of risk management software. In her search for a reputable software vendor, Singh solicited a presentation from Ptech, an enterprise architecture software firm. Clients of Ptech included the White House and government agencies, such as the FBI, the Department of Defense, the Treasury, the IRS, and the US Navy. In Singh’s opinion, Ptech had all the markings of a CIA front company. After researching Ptech, Singh discovered that it had been started in part by funds from Yassin Al-Qadi (who was previously identified by the FBI as a Saudi financier of global terror operations). She found many other disturbing links between Ptech officers and suspected terrorist organizations. On the morning of 9/11, Ptech had been conducting tests on the interoperability of FAA and NORAD computer systems in the event of an emergency. The FBI refused to investigate, telling Singh that she should do it herself. When she brought the same information to Bill Moran, General Auditor of JP Morgan/Chase, Singh was told not to discuss or question these issues. She no longer works for JP Morgan/Chase.
Ted Siska blew the whistle by filing a Qui Tam lawsuit, U.S. ex rel. Siska v. Ward Diesel Filter Systems, Inc., No. 10-0111-JL (D. NH), under the False Claims, wherein he accused Ward Diesel Filter Systems Inc. of knowingly submitting false claims to federal agencies under a contract to provide diesel exhaust filtering systems for fire engines through the General Services Administration’s (GSA) Multiple Award Schedule program. The company, headquartered in Elmira, N.Y., had provided the systems to the Department of the Army, Department of the Navy, Department of Interior, the Air Force, Marine Corps and Department of Energy. Ward Diesel was routinely overcharging government agencies that purchased diesel filter systems though its GSA contract. The Justice Department joined the suit and confirmed Siska’s allegations. Ward Diesel Filter Systems, Inc. has agreed to pay the United States $628,000 to settle the case. Ted Siska, as the whistleblower who exposed the fraud, earned $94,200 of the settlement.
Edward Snowden worked as a contractor at the National Security Agency and the CIA. He provided classified documents to reporters with The Guardian and The Washington Post, revealing two sweeping U.S. surveillance programs by the NSA. The first program gathers hundreds of millions of U.S. phone records, while allegedly searching for possible links to known terrorist targets abroad. Intelligence officials acknowledged the existence of this program, which likely covers all U.S. carriers. The second program allows the government to tap into nine U.S. Internet companies, gathering all Internet usage to detect suspicious behavior. This program, known as PRISM, allows NSA analysts to extract the details of people’s online activities, including audio and video chats, photos, e-mails, documents and other materials, from computers at Microsoft, Google, Apple and other Internet service providers. Snowden made the disclosure in the interest of sparking a national debate on shrinking liberties and deteriorating privacy of American citizens, under the guise of the so-called “war on terror”. Snowden was charged with espionage and is facing decades in jail for his selfless disclosures, if the U.S. can extradite him before he obtains asylum in Ecuador or Iceland.
Jack Spadaro is a mine-safety whistleblower and a former director of the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration, with over two decades of experience as one of the federal government’s top mine-safety engineers. Spadaro played a key role in an investigation of Massey Energy. His findings and recommendations could have prevented the April 5, 2010 explosion of the Massey Energy coal mine in Upper Big Branch, West Virginia – the deadliest mining disaster in 40 years, which caused 29 deaths. Spadaro was outspoken in criticizing Massey Energy’s failure to implement safeguards in an earlier incident: the Martin County discharge of toxic coal slurry in 2000, which was at least 25 times larger than the Exxon Valdez oil spill. More than 100 miles of streams were polluted, approximately 1.6 million fish died, and water supplies were contaminated, impacting more than 27,000 people. In retaliation for his criticism, Spadaro was fired. Ironically, he previously survived the infamous case, wherein former Special Counsel (OSC) Alex Kozinski overruled recommendation of his staff to stay Spadaro’s termination. Then Kozinski proceeded to tutor the Department of Interior Secretary James Watt on how to rewrite the proposed termination to ensure it would stick. It should be noted that in theory, the OSC was supposed to protect whistleblowers, but in reality, it was conspiring with the heads of federal agencies to undermine inconvenient truth-tellers. Kozinski was said to have the copy of a Malek Manual (guidelines and tips on eliminating whistleblowers and political opponents from government positions, created during the Nixon administration) on his desk. When the truth about the abuse of power by Kozinski and the OSC came out several years later during confirmation hearings for his Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals nomination, the scandal drew 43 Senate opposition votes and subsequently prevented Kozinski’s planned upgrade to the Supreme Court. In spite of unsavory scandals surrounding Kozinski, he was appointed and still serves as Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. This position allows an anti-whistleblower activist judge to preside over whistleblower case appeals.
Mary Ellen Spera is a mortuary inspector, who blew the whistle on the mishandling of war remains at the military mortuary at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. Spera and two other civilian mortuary employees exposed problems in the handling of human remains, including fallen soldiers and victims of 9/11. She had called for an independent probe of the mortuary with regard to the incinerated remains of the victims of 9/11, as well as the remains of 274 service members that were classified as “medical waste”, placed in sealed containers, provided to a biomedical waste disposal contractor and were disposed of in a Virginia landfill. In retaliation for her whistleblowing disclosure, Spera received a letter of reprimand. She was later vindicated by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, whose investigators have concluded that whistleblower retaliation by Air Force officials was illegal. Defense Department investigation confirmed whistleblower reports and cited “gross mismanagement” and “insufficient” training as reasons for the improper disposal of the remains.
J. Michael Springmann is a 20-year veteran of the Department of State. He served 18 months as the head of the visa section at the U.S. consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. During 1988-1989, Springmann rejected numerous visa applications from unqualified individuals, but his decisions were arbitrarily overturned by the head of the consulate. Upon his return to Washington, Springmann discovered that the Jeddah consulate was being used to funnel Afghan mujahedeen into the U.S. for training. These activities were reportedly facilitated by the CIA on behalf of their asset, Osama bin Laden. The Jeddah consulate issued visas to the 15 of alleged 9/11 hijackers, allowing their entry into the United States. Springmann sounded the alarm, blowing the whistle by filing numerous complaints up the chain of command. In retaliation for his whistleblowing disclosures,, Springmann’s contract with the State Department was not renewed.
Rodney Stich brought to light crimes committed by the United States government against its citizens, which has been likened to the political oppression in the former Soviet Union. In retaliation for his disclosures, Rodney Stich, a WWII veteran and leading federal investigator was harassed, unlawfully and falsely imprisoned and attacked financially with the resources of the US government under the color or law. Stich was denied due process, fair and equal protection in a court of law.
Crystal Lee Sutton worked in a textile mill in North Carolina in the early 1970s. Like other mill workers, she endured poor working conditions and was paid only $2.65 an hour. Sutton became involved in a push to unionize the textile workers. She initiated a strike at the plant and was fired from her job for her efforts to blow the whistle on unacceptable working conditions and low pay. Because of Sutton’s stand, the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union won the right to represent the workers at her factory. She took a job as a union organizer. Sutton was portrayed by Sally Field the 1979 film “Norma Rae”.
Russell D. Tice is a former intelligence analyst for the U.S. Air Force, Office of Naval Intelligence, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and National Security Agency (NSA). In 2005, Tice became a whistleblower by disclosing massive unconstitutional wiretapping of U.S citizens going on across multiple federal agencies (including the DIA and the NSA). His disclosures were mainly disregarded, until they were confirmed by Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013. Russ Tice further elaborated that as early as 2004, the NSA has been wiretapping Congress officials, court justices, lawyers, military officials and even President Obama (who served as a Senator at that time). Tice had been a key source in a bombshell New York Times report that exposed the Bush administration’s use of warrantless wiretapping in the United States. The article forced President G.W. Bush to admit that the practice was indeed used on a small number of Americans. Tice maintains that the NSA wiretapping and warrantless surveillance was being used the gather records for millions of Americans.
Dr. Eric Topol is an internationally known cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic, a member of the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Topol has been an important skeptic about Vioxx (rofecoxib), a drug withdrawn from the market by Merck, amidst questions about its cardiac adverse effects. Merck executives attempted to discredit Dr. Topol, after the New England Journal of Medicine published an editorial about the company’s efforts to suppress data about the adverse effects of Vioxx. Several days later, Dr. Topol was fired from the positions of Chief Academic Officer of the Cleveland Clinic and Provost of the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, of Case Western Reserve University.
Linda Tripp is a former White House staff member. She made a whistleblowing disclosure to the Office of Independent Counsel, revealing that Monica Lewinsky and President Bill Clinton committed perjury, by denying the Clinton-Lewinsky relationship in the Paula Jones federal civil rights suit. In retaliation for her whistleblowing disclosure, the federal government leaked personal information about Linda Tripp to the press. She won her lawsuit against the federal government for their retaliatory leaks that violated the Privacy Act of 1974.
Christophe Tulou is the former environmental chief of the D.C. Department of the Environment (DDOE). He raised concerns to federal regulators about a plan to delay a massive public works project, aimed at reducing water pollution in the District. Tulou communicated his concerns to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In retaliation for his whistleblower complaint, Tulou was fired by city officials for alleged “breach of protocol.”
Jane Turner served as a Special Agent with the FBI for more than 20 years. Turner put forth her best efforts to protect children from sexual crimes on the North Dakota Indian reservation. The Federal Bureau of Investigation failed in their child crime prevention program and subsequently Turner was retaliated against and removed from her position. Jane Turner serves at the National Whistleblowers Center in Washington, DC as an advocate for civil rights, civil liberties and equal protection under the law for whistleblowers.