What is a whistleblower?

In September, a whistleblower came forward with concerns about a phone call President Donald Trump made to the president of Ukraine. As October rolled around, a second whistleblower emerged.

So, what exactly makes someone a whistleblower?

A whistleblower is basically anyone who exposes unethical or illegal activity. Whistleblowers can be government employees and contractors who expose problems within the government, or they can expose unethical and illegal activity in a business or nonprofit setting.

Whistleblowers have special protection under the law that protects them from retribution by their employer whether that employer is in the private or public sector.

Public sector whistleblowers like the two that are currently in the news are protected by the Whistleblower Protection Act, which was passed in 1989 and protects those who expose information about the federal government from retaliation by the federal government.

While the whistleblowers who exposed the Ukraine controversy have not been named, they join a long list of whistleblowers throughout history including.

Linda Tripp, who exposed details about President Bill Clinton’s affair with intern Monica Lewinsky, showing that the president lied under oath.

Edward Snowden, who exposed the National Security Agency’s surveillance of U.S. Citizens on U.S. soil.

Jim Wetta, who exposed a kickback scandal at pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

Cathy Harris, who exposed racial profiling of black passengers by U.S. Customs at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

John Kiriakou, who revealed that the CIA waterboarded detainees.

Russ Tice, who exposed a warrantless surveillance program within the NSA.


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