THE ORIGINS OF whistleblowing have been compared to English common law notions of raising the “hue and cry” to create a public uproar when a crime was discovered. Other scholars have traced the term to a referee who blows the whistle to halt action or to a police officer who blows a whistle and yells “stop thief.” Gerald Vinten notes that the first known use of the term was in reference to the 1963 Otto Otopeka case.

Otopeka provided classified documents concerning security risks to the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security that resulted in the firing of the Secretary of State Dean Rusk. Whistleblowing is defined under the Whistleblower Protection Act as the “disclosure of information that an employee reasonably believes is evidence of illegality, ...

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