While working as internal auditor for Northrop Grumman, James Holzrichter noticed that his company was falsely inflating defense costs in order to receive more money from the government. He describes the experience of being faced with a daunting decision to either turn in his findings to higher authorities or keep quiet with the knowledge that he was working for a dishonest company.
Holzrichter nearly lost everything while awaiting a trial with Northrop. He faced 8 ½ days of grueling deposition. Finally Northrop was forced to pay back $134 million to the government, ten years after the case had originally been in court. He says whistleblowers can expect to feel isolation and distrust toward everyone and everything. In his book, A Just Case, Holzrichter recommends that individuals build bridges in order to reconnect with life as well as redefine what that life may look like.
Currently he counsels other whistleblowers awaiting trial.
“Sometimes the decisions whistleblowers have to make are the lesser of two evils,” Holzrichter admits, “generally whistleblowers don’t have much of a choice and aren’t aware of the ramifications of what they do.”
When asked about the Edward Snowden case, Holzrichter admits that he is unaware of all of the facts, but does point out that Snowden is seen by at least 55% of the public as a hero. This statistic may help him in his attempts to find asylum elsewhere in the world.