There's been a lot of leaking lately. First, it was Mel Gibson's heavy-breathing tirade, and now something that is just a tad more relevant -- WikiLeaks' releasing thousands of pages of allegedly classified documents pertaining to the War in Afghanistan. It's official. The leaks are gushing. It's time to honor other seminal moments in leaking history (and, yes, we like how that sounds), so we're dropping a dime on the top five leaks of the past 40 years.
5. The Pentagon Papers. Back when copying thousands of classified documents still took more than a couple of keystrokes, Daniel Ellsberg leaked a study he helped write about the U.S.'s involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967. The New York Times published excerpts in 1971 that showed how President Lyndon Johnson's administration lied about the Vietnam War. Sound familiar?
4. Iran Contra. The scandal that gave us Ollie North and had the U.S. selling weapons to Iran (which was just as dangerous back then as it is now) was exposed by a leak from an Iranian radical (OK, so that's not the most reliable source) in 1986. An airplane crash in Nicaragua unearthed guns and money headed to the anti-Sandinista Contras in that country and tainted Ronald Reagan's presidency.
3. CIA leak scandal. Renowned journalist Robert Novak's
credibility suffered a death knell when, in matter-of-fact fashion, he
exposed Valerie Plame Wilson, a covert CIA officer, in a column he wrote
in 2004. Wilson said the revelation was retribution for her husband's
claims he had found nothing supporting allegations that Iraq was trying to
buy yellowcake uranium from Niger, which served as part of a justification
for war against Saddam Hussein.
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2. Watergate. The scandal that brought down Richard Nixon and
changed the presidency forever was mostly the result of dogged reporting
by Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, also known as Bob Woodward and
Carl Bernstein. Much of the information Woodstein used to expose All
the President's Men was given to them by the most famous leaker in
history, Deep Throat.
1. Monica Lewinsky's blue dress. OK, the only reason this
sordid affair gets top billing on our list is because, well, there was
actual leakage -- of the presidential variety no less -- involved in this
case. President Bill Clinton's spunk and how it found its way onto White House intern Monica Lewinsky's now-iconic dress became a national obsession thanks to Linda
Tripp selling out her gal pal.