Not every individual who leaks or pilfers confidential information to reveal it to third parties can be considered a whistleblower, however.
A whistleblower has been defined as a person who exposes any kind of information or activity that is deemed illegal, unethical, or not correct within an organization that is either private or public.
The information of alleged wrongdoing can be classified in many ways: violation of company policy/rules, law, regulation, or threat to public interest/national security, as well as fraud, and corruption.
Those who become whistleblowers can choose to bring information or allegations to the surface either internally or externally.
Internally, a whistleblower can bring his/her accusations to the attention of other people within the accused organization (unfortunately retaliation by that organization is often standard practice and de rigeur).
Externally, a whistleblower can bring allegations to light by contacting a third party outside of an accused organization.
Whistleblowers can reach out to the media, government, law enforcement, or those who are concerned but also face stiff reprisal and retaliation from those who are accused or alleged of wrongdoing.
The Founding Fathers knew exactly the heroism and personal self-sacrifice of those who gave up their life, liberty and pursuit of happiness for the sake of freedom for all.
The progenitors of the Founding Fathers, ie, those that influenced and inspired them to forge a new nation, were also passionate whistleblowers who desperately tried to escape the yoke and slavery of Colonial British England, which is exactly who still controls the purse strings today, through the fiat power of the Bank of England and the other central banks located sporadically throughout the tiny City of London.
Thomas Paine in 1776 once said, “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.”
John Locke stated in 1689 that “Where-ever law ends, tyranny begins, if the law be transgressed to another’s harm; and whosoever in authority exceeds the power given him by the law, and makes use of the force he has under his command, to compass that upon the subject, which the law allows not, ceases in that to be a magistrate; and, acting without authority, may be opposed, as any other man, who by force invades the right of another. This is acknowledged in subordinate magistrates. He that hath authority to seize my person in the street, may be opposed as a thief and a robber, if he endeavours to break into my house to execute a writ, notwithstanding that I know he has such a warrant, and such a legal authority, as will impower him to arrest me abroad. And why this should not hold in the highest, as well as in the most inferior magistrate, I would gladly be informed.”
So it can be no secret that today’s crop of whistleblowers are at once much more similar to the courageous Founding Fathers (and their progenitors) than the bought off, paid for bankster whores that populate our Congress, Senate, Judiciary, and Executive Branch, especially since the resurgence in 1995 of COINTELPRO by the DOJ/FBI/DHS after its outlawing in 1975 by the Frank Church Hearings with the Bill Clinton/Joe Biden Community-Oriented Policing (“COPS”) program brought on the by the suspiciously contrived Oklahoma City Bombings, or the reinstatement of the CIA mass assassination/MKULTRA/propaganda program onslaught after the equally suspect events of 911.
Today’s whistleblowers sacrificed themselves, their freedoms, and their “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” for the sake of their fellow American Citizen, if not fellow man, should be immediately liberated from bondage, and then lionized in history, as such.
The only test to determine if one qualifies for heroic whistleblower status is whether or not more people were affected positively than negatively.
If the calculus can be shown that their revelations operated to inform the American People about troubling programs, constitutional violations, and other mechanisms of corruption, then they should at once be liberated/freed/exonerated/lionized.
To be sure, not all leakers should be rescued from the earthly bondage of government retaliation, but a great many of the ones appearing in the modern news should be, because they have in fact ameliorated and improved the conditions and knowledge of their fellow citizenry, who have thereupon acted upon this knowledge to seek out change, by throwing their elected (and non-elected) tyrants out of power to face public/private scrutiny and investigation.
Whistleblower revelations have also illuminated brightly the money/paper trails of the corrupted relationships within the government, allowing for a tracking of the origin/roots of their slavery, giving the American People the ability to collectively shut them down.
Thomas Drake – Thomas Drake worked at the NSA in various analyst and management positions. He blew the whistle on the NSA’s Trailblazer Project that he felt was a violation of the Fourth Amendment and other laws and regulations. He contacted The Baltimore Sun which published articles about waste, fraud, and abuse at the NSA, including stories about Trailblazer. In April 2010, Drake was indicted by a grand jury on various charges, including obstructing justice and making false statements. After the May 22, 2011 broadcast of a 60 Minutes episode on the Drake case, the government dropped all of the charges against Drake and agreed not to seek any jail time in return for Drake’s agreement to plead guilty to a misdemeanor of misusing the agency’s computer system. Drake was sentenced to one year of probation and community service;
John Kiriakou – In an interview with ABC News on December 10, CIA Officer Kiriakou disclosed that the agency waterboarded detainees and that this constituted torture.
In the months that followed, Kiriakou passed the identity of a covert CIA operative to a reporter.
He was convicted of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act and sentenced, on January 25, 2013, to 30 months imprisonment. Having served the first months of his service he wrote an open letter describing the inhuman circumstances at the correction facility;
Bradley “Chelsea” Manning – US Army intelligence analyst who released the largest set of classified documents ever, mostly published by WikiLeaks and their media partners. The material included videos of the July 12, 2007 Baghdad airstrike and the 2009 Granai airstrike in Afghanistan; 250,000 United States diplomatic cables; and 500,000 army reports that came to be known as the Iraq War logs and Afghan War logs. Manning was convicted of violating the Espionage Act and other offenses and sentenced to 35 years in prison;
Jeffrey Sterling – Jeffrey Alexander Sterling is an American lawyer and former CIA employee who was arrested, charged, and convicted of violating the Espionage Act for revealing details about Operation Merlin to journalist James Risen. In April 2000, Sterling filed a complaint with the CIA’s Equal Employment Office about management’s alleged racial discrimination practices. The CIA subsequently revoked Sterling’s authorization to receive or possess classified documents concerning the secret operation and placed him on administrative leave in March 2001. After the failure of two settlement attempts, his contract with the CIA was terminated on January 31, 2002.
Sterling’s lawsuit accusing CIA officials of racial discrimination was dismissed by the judge after the government successfully argued the state secrets privilege by alleging the litigation would require disclosure of classified information. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal, ruling in 2005 that “there is no way for Sterling to prove employment discrimination without exposing at least some classified details of the covert employment that gives context to his claim.” In May 2015, Sterling was sentenced to 3½ years in prison.
Edward Snowden – Booz Allen Hamilton contractor Snowden released classified material on top-secret NSA programs including the PRISM surveillance program to The Guardian and The Washington Post in June 2013.
Julian Paul Assange – Australian computer programmer, publisher and journalist. He is editor-in-chief of the organization WikiLeaks, which he founded in 2006. He has won numerous accolades for journalism, including the Sam Adams Award and Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism. Assange founded WikiLeaks in 2006 but came to global prominence in 2010 when WikiLeaks published a series of leaks, allegedly provided by Chelsea Manning. These leaks included the Collateral Murder video (April 2010), the Afghanistan war logs (July 2010), the Iraq war logs (October 2010), and CableGate (November 2010). Assange became even more globally recognized after WikiLeaks published more leaks—the DNC leaks and the Podesta emails during the United States presidential election, 2016. Following the 2010 leaks, the United States government launched a criminal investigation into WikiLeaks and asked allied nations for assistance. In November 2010, a request was made for Assange’s extradition to Sweden, where he had been questioned months earlier over allegations of sexual assault and rape. Assange continued to deny the allegations after the case was re-opened, and expressed concern that he would be extradited from Sweden to the United States due to his perceived role in publishing secret American documents. Assange surrendered himself to UK police on 7 December 2010 and was held for ten days in solitary confinement before being released on bail. Assange sought and was granted asylum by Ecuador in August 2012. Assange has since remained in the Embassy of Ecuador in London, and is unable to leave without being arrested for breaching his bail conditions;
There are countless more heroic whistleblowers throughout history, and if they can pass the test as described above, they should immediately be liberated/pardoned/exonerated either now while they are living, or posthumously if they are no longer with us.