Joe Darby is a military guy. A tough guy. About 6-feet tall, with a shaved head. He is best known as the whistleblower behind the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq.
"I think the picture that bothered me the most was the one you see on TV and Internet of the male Iraqi standing and the other male Iraqi kneeling in front of him with the sandbags over their heads," Darby told me today.
Darby was first given the disturbing pictures by Specialist Charles Graner, who is now serving 10 years for his part in the abuse. Darby said he had asked Graner for photos from their travels so he could share them with his family. Instead, he got photos of prisoner abuse.
For weeks, Darby struggled with the biggest decision of his life. Should he turn in the photos to the Criminal Investigation Division?
"Ultimately it needed to be done. ... It had to be done," he said.
As the suspects were rounded-up, Darby grew scared.
"They had their weapons. They slept in the same compound I did. And they were trying to find out who turned them in. For that four to six weeks, I lived in fear that they would figure out it was me. I slept with a loaded weapon under my pillow until they left," he said.
Unfortunately, Darby couldn't stay anonymous forever. While dining at the mess hall with 400 others, he watched and listened as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld publicly thanked him on national television. Darby says he left the mess hall immediately, out of fear.
Darby stood his ground as members of the military and his own family ostracized him. They called him a rat, a traitor, and a whistleblower.
"I don't like the tag that much. I view it as -- I was a soldier and I was an MP. I was just doing my job. And they violated the law," he said.
Things got so bad his wife called the Pentagon for extra security. Eventually, Darby and his wife had to move away. They entered military protective custody.
Today, they won't tell anyone where they live or who they work for. Still, Darby says he's proud to have served in the military and that he has no regrets.
(Editor's note: Randi Kaye's piece on Joe Darby airs on "360", tonight 10 p.m. ET)