WHAT WENT WRONG: Analyzing pollution from hog farms in Iowa and Missouri, James Zahn discovered a strain of airborne, antibiotic-resistant "superbugs" that posed a threat to human health. In 2002, when Zahn sought to formally present his findings, his superiors at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) blocked him. Zahn later found out that the National Pork Producers Council had lobbied to keep him silent.

THE HEAVY: Secretary of Agriculture Ann M. Veneman.

THE PRICE: Zahn left the USDA in 2002 for the private sector.