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2019 Whistleblower of the Year Goes to... Anonymous CIA Whistleblower on Ukraine

Posted  March 1, 2020

The results are in, and Constantine Cannon’s 2019 Whistleblower of the Year award goes to the anonymous Ukraine whistleblower who laid the groundwork for what has become the biggest threat to date for the Trump presidency.  She or he is the CIA analyst who filed an anonymous complaint alleging President Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to announce an investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.  Perhaps the most brazen attempt by a sitting US president to interfere with US elections.

You can learn more about the story here.  But it provides an all-too-familiar narrative of a whistleblower standing up and speaking out against what she or he considers misbehavior that threatens all of us.  In this case, the democratic principles that underscore the heart and soul of this country.  And it presents a most powerful example of the impact even a single individual can have in attempting to speak truth to power.

It is for all this that led our voters to select this anonymous whistleblower as our 2019 Whistleblower of the Year.  In doing so, this individual joins the noble ranks of our prior-year winners, which include Siobhan O’Connor (2018), James Comey (2017), LeAnne Walters (2016), Craig Watts (2015), Mary Willingham (2014), and Taylor Radig (2013), all shining examples of courage and sacrifice in pursuit of the common good.

This year’s winner beat out several other whistleblower-nominees, all eminently worthy of the award and our deepest respect and appreciation:

Opioid Whistleblowers — They came forward with information sparking the government to pursue fraud charges against and secure blockbuster settlements from two of the largest opioid makers in the country — Reckitt Benckiser Group paying $1.4B and Insys Therapeutics paying $225M to resolve criminal and civil charges.  They also helped the government, through their filing of qui tam actions under the False Claims Act, take a big step forward in redressing this latest health care scourge plaguing so much of the country.

Shuping Wang (posthumously) — She exposed HIV and hepatitis epidemics in central China in the 1990s, potentially saving tens of thousands of lives.  She died this past year at the age of 59 but her legacy lives on through a play inspired by her life story called “The King of Hell’s Palace,” which premiered at London’s Hampstead Theatre this past September.

Edward “Ted” Siedle — He received the largest whistleblower awards to date under both the SEC and CFTC Whistleblower Programs for reporting on JP Morgan’s failure to disclose to wealthy clients that it was steering them to investments profitable to the bank.  He also boldly stepped out from behind the curtain of confidentiality the SEC and CFTC provide whistleblowers to proudly reveal his courageous exploits and encourage others to follow suit.

Greta Thunberg — She is the Swedish teenager who galvanized the world with her outspoken plea to fix this ailing planet.  She has received numerous honors and awards for her environmental activism, including a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize and being the youngest individual named Time Person of the Year.  She also provides a most striking example that you are never too young to stand up and be heard.

So a hearty congratulations to the anonymous Ukraine whistleblower, and all this year’s candidates, for all they have done to make this world a safer and better place for all of us.


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