Despite thousands of recent print, broadcast and Internet
reports about WikiLeaks, the renegade Web site's alleged
whistleblowing activities and certain documents it has "published,"
qui tam remains the first name in whistleblower; "journalist"
remains the first name in publishing; and Julian Assange is
Under federal and state false claims acts, whistleblowers -
known legally as "qui tam relators" from a Latin phrase first used
in 13th century English law - reveal "inside" or otherwise secret
information in an effort to expose corruption and fraud involving
government purchases and contracts.
These relators are true whistleblowers who don't jeopardize
legitimate government operations by releasing classified documents.
They retain attorneys who assist them in providing confidential
information, initially under seal and under court supervision, in
an effort to advance important societal goals, such as protecting
the health and safety of Americans who take prescription drugs, and
protecting the welfare of men and women serving in the U.S. armed
True journalists don't brandish doomsday weapons of more
embarrassing leaks, which Assange has threatened if he were
prosecuted for violating the law or killed. True journalists
balance the need to provide information to their readers and
viewers under the protections of the First Amendment with the need
to provide confidentiality for certain critical government
operations, or to protect lives that could be lost. Witness the
recent efforts of journalists who communicated with the government
regarding raw documents provided to them by WikiLeaks.
I prosecuted violent and white-collar criminals during 16 years
as a Delaware deputy attorney general. After more than 125 jury
trials, I was named director of the First State's Medicaid Fraud
Control Unit, where, along with my federal and state colleagues, I
was responsible for pursuing civil whistleblower cases against drug
manufacturers, which led to the recovery of billions of federal and
state taxpayer dollars.
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