Lauren Dibble, Staff Writer
July 30 marks National Whistleblower Appreciation Day, which is a commemorative day to celebrate the anniversary of the first American law passed in 1778 to protect whistleblowers.
Whistleblowers play a critical role in government accountability as people who expose any kind of information or activity that is deemed illegal, unethical or not correct within an organization that is either private or public.
Some famous whistleblowers include W. Mark Felt, Daniel Ellsberg, Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning and Linda Tripp.
Felt was a former FBI Associate Director who provided information to The Washington Post reporter, Bob Woodward, about President Nixon’s connection to the 1972 Watergate break-in. Because of the information Felt provided, Nixon stepped down in 1974, earning the distinction of being the only U.S. president to resign from office.
Military analyst, Ellsberg, leaked the “Pentagon Papers,” first to The New York Times and then to The Washington Post. The documents revealed the U.S.’s growing political and military involvement in Vietnam leading up to the war there. He was charged with conspiracy, espionage and theft of government property, but the charges were dismissed after a federal district judge declared a mistrial, according to The Washington Post.
Snowden was a former National Security Agency contractor who leaked classified documents revealing that the federal government gathers information on private citizens. U.S. authorities charged him with espionage in June 2013.
Army private, Manning, changed his legal name to Chelsea Manning in April 2014 after he turned over a huge trove of classified military and diplomatic records to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks.
Former White House and Pentagon employee, Tripp, helped uncover the President Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal in 1998, when she told the Office of Independent Counsel that Lewinsky had committed perjury by filing an affidavit denying that she had a sexual relationship with the president.
July 30 is a day to recognize the courage of whistleblowers and to show how important they are to this country.
The National Whistleblower Center said, “We must remember how our Founding Fathers stood up to defend whistleblowers and demand that our current leaders follow this tradition, support and honor the sacrifices whistleblowers have endured, and ensure that our nation's laws protect these heroes.”