Daniel Ellsberg is probably the most famous whistleblower in American history.
After all, in 1971, Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times and The Washington Post. The Nixon administration grossly overreacted with claims of national security, but the Supreme Court quickly refused to issue a prior restraint against the publication. In some respects, maybe because of Ellsberg’s leaks, key legislation and court rulings have arisen in support of the whistleblower, e.g., in qui tam actions that reward private parties for successfully bringing suit on behalf of the government. Surprisingly, too, the suits can enable conspirators in the wrongdoing to get a big piece of the pie when they help expose wrongdoing that leads to giant recoveries for the government. And with the advent of Wikileaks, a website that encourages individuals to share highly sensitive government or military information with the world, Lord knows how far whistleblowing can go.
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