Major Government Secrets and the Whistleblowers Behind Them


They say you need a strong stomach to work with the Government because with an honorable post; there also comes a massive pile of secrets you must keep hidden deep inside.

However, what happens when people start to leak highly confidential state documents and secrets? Well, these people did exactly that! Let's look at five whistleblowers who revealed major government secrets.

Smedley Butler

Despite being among the most honored Marines in American history, Smedley Butler was at the center of the 'Business Plot' affair. In testifying before a House Committee, Butler said that wealthy industrialists were planning a military coup to remove President Franklin D. Roosevelt from office.

Even though the assertion was mocked in the press and refuted by business leaders, the committee's final report backed up some of Butler's claims. Then, in 1935, Butler published his expose, “War Is a Racket”, in which he talked in detail about the ties between major American firms and the United States military involvement overseas.

Joe Darby

Joe Darby, an Army reserve, sent the United States Army's Criminal Investigation Division a CD in 2004 that included images he had taken depicting the maltreatment and torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Once 60 Minutes broadcasted the photographs, they sparked resentment across the world.

Darby's whistleblower had a significantly broader impact than the immediate removal and subsequent trial of seven officers serving at the military jail in Iraq. Investigations into Abu Ghraib led to more scrutiny of how detainees were treated, improving circumstances.

This was despite early attempts by officials of the Bush admin to portray the images as the acts of a few cruel people.

Edward Snowden

An ex-computer intelligence expert named Edward Snowden leaked information on covert National Security Agency programs to journalists at The Guardian and The Washington Post in 2013. Snowden sought to voice his moral considerations about the worldwide monitoring programs at the company, but he was disregarded.

The continuing discussion regarding national security was sparked after Snowden made the NSA public in June 2013. Snowden was wanted on espionage charges but hid out in Russia.

A federal court in the United States found on September 2, 2020, in United States v. Moalin that Snowden had revealed unconstitutional US monitoring practices. Snowden is still living in Moscow as part of his exile.

Daniel Ellsberg

National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger declared Ellsberg "the most dangerous man in America" who "had to be stopped at all costs" during President Richard Nixon's administration.

The former US military analyst leaked the Pentagon Papers, a classified report exposing the US government's decision-making during the Vietnam War.

According to the documents, the Kennedy administration actively participated in the 1963 assassination of South Vietnamese leader Ngo Dinh Diem and publicly disagreed with the United States' official stance on attacking North Vietnam.

Once facing 115 years in jail, the accusations against Ellsberg were eventually dismissed. After 50 years, he still has no remorse.

W. Mark Felt

For almost thirty years, people have wondered who "Deep Throat" was who tipped off Washington Post writers Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein about the Watergate crisis in 1972. Felt's true identity was revealed to the public in 2005. When Felt revealed President Nixon's role in Watergate, he was serving as the Deputy Director in FBI, the bureau's second-highest ranking official.

Historians have disagreed ever since Felt's name was revealed whether he served as an informant out of ethical concerns or merely as a ploy to acquire the top post at the Bureau during Watergate, ultimately leading to the President's resignation and jail sentences for two key Nixon officials.

Whether or not his true identity will ever be known, Felt will always be remembered as one of the most significant whistleblowers in American history.

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