My first excuse comes easy: I know very little about the F-22's oxygen system. In the F-15 (and all other jets I flew), the oxygen we breathed came from a liquid oxygen reservoir and was delivered to our masks through time-tested oxygen regulators dating back to the 1950s. The advantage was that the O2 we breathed was clean; the disadvantage was that the LOX had to be replenished between flights, and on a really long flight you could conceivably deplete your supply. The F-22 uses an onboard oxygen generating system (OBOGS) that extracts O2 from engine bleed air. The advantage is an unlimited supply of oxygen (as long as the engines are running); the disadvantage, it seems to me, is the possibility of contamination.
Military pilots visit the altitude chamber every few years to relearn their hypoxia symptoms. My symptoms never varied: lightheadedness and dizziness. I valued the training and believed that if I ever became hypoxic in flight I'd recognize the symptoms and do something about it. But there were always one or two guys in the chamber who didn't recognize their symptoms and would keep trying to put the pegs in the holes until they passed out ... or until the chamber safety monitors clamped the masks back over their faces and set their regulators to 100% O2. The good thing about hypoxia is that when you start breathing oxygen again you're instantly cured; the bad thing is that if you're alone in a single-seat fighter you might not recognize your symptoms until it's too late to do anything about it (those guys especially).
One of the two 60 Minutes whistleblowers said that when it happened to him he recognized the symptoms and wanted to do something about it. There's an emergency oxygen bottle on the side of the ejection seat: when you activate it O2 under pressure is forced into your mask for about 10 minutes, plenty of time to descend to a lower, more oxygen-rich cabin altitude. But one of his hypoxia symptoms, frighteningly, was that he couldn't remember where the emergency oxygen bottle was, or how to activate it!
As for my opinion on whistleblowing, well: outsiders may cheer when, say, a CIA agent goes public with institutional abuses and wrongdoings, but fellow agents close ranks against the whistleblower. And that's before the higher-ups retaliate, as they inevitably do. The military is no different. These guys spoke out of school and they'll pay a price for doing that. Never mind whether they're right or wrong. It's just the way things are in tight-knit professions.