Across the globe, many have blown the whistle when they noticed things gone awry.
The Vietnam whistle-blower
Ex-State Department official and Vietnam expert Daniel Ellsberg leaked material from a top secret Department of Defense history, to which he had contributed, of US political and military involvement in the Vietnam War from early 1971. The leaks showed how the government had deliberately boosted its role in the war by conducting air strikes over Laos, raids along the coast of North Vietnam and offensive actions by US Marines while president Lyndon Johnson had been promising not to expand the war. Charges filed against Ellsberg by the Nixon administration were eventually dropped.
The Presidential whistle-blower
"Deep Throat," only recently confirmed as FBI No. 2 W. Mark Felt, leaked information to Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward that led to President Richard Nixon's ultimate demise over the 1972 Watergate scandal. Nixon was forced to resign, and the scandal saw prison terms for his White House chief of staff H. R. Haldeman and adviser John Ehrlichman.
The Falklands whistle-blower
British senior civil servant at the Ministry of Defense Clive Ponting leaked classified documents to Labor MP Tam Dalyel in 1984 that confirmed the Argentinian vessel General Belgrano had been sunk by British forces during the Falklands War while outside the total exclusion zone, where it should have been immune, contradicting statements given by Margaret Thatcher's government.
The Israeli whistle-blower/traitor
Mordechai Vanunu, a former nuclear technician at the Dimona reactor, revealed "the secrets of Israel's nuclear arsenal" to London's Sunday Times in 1986. His assertion that he was making Israelis aware of the program in their own best interests won him some support at home and abroad. The state, however, prosecuted him for treason and he served 18 years in prison, 11 of which were spent in solitary confinement.
The Big Tobacco whistle-blower
After being fired in 1993 from the Brown and Williamson Tobacco Corp., Jeffrey Wigand exposed his company's practice of manipulating the effect of nicotine in cigarettes on the CBS News program 60 Minutes. His leading role in revealing the harmful impact of smoking was immortalized by Russell Crowe in the film The Insider.