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EXPOSÉ on the JOURNAL: A Private War
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December 19, 2008

In an investigative series published by the SEATTLE POST INTELLIGENCER, reporter Eric Nalder revealed what happens when a private contractor takes advantage of taxpayer dollars and a law encouraging privatization, then drops the ball — in this case, depriving military families of new housing. The story revolves around a private contractor hired to build and manage 460 new military family homes at a Washington state base — a job it never finished. Nalder's series and our broadcast also detail what happened to one man who blew the whistle.

Ask the Reporter

Eric Nalder will answer viewer questions about "A Private War." Simply submit your questions on our blog and we'll post his answers in the near future. Nalder is the author of a noted set of guidelines for journalists entitled "Loosening Lips," techniques for setting up and conducting effective interviews. Also, be sure to check out an earlier EXPOSÉ feature on Nalder's reporting: "A Sea of Trouble" about tanker safety in the Puget Sound.

Eric Nalder

Eric Nalder has received two Pulitzer Prizes, one for national reporting in 1990 and another for investigative reporting in 1997. He was a finalist for the Pulitzer in public service in 1992. Nalder has published one book, TANKERS FULL OF TROUBLE, which won the Investigative Reporters and Editors book award for 1994. He has taught interviewing and investigative reporting workshops in five countries, each year adding new techniques learned from journalists, cops, FBI agents, lawyers, social workers and other practitioners. A reporter for 37 years, Nalder is the team leader for the investigative team at the SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER. He has also lived in Norway, France, Lebanon and Afghanistan and has also worked for the SEATTLE TIMES and SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS.

Published on December 19, 2008.

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References and Reading:
Whistleblower Resources

U.S. Office of the Special Counsel
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is an independent federal investigative and prosecutorial agency. Oversight authority for the OSC comes from three federal statutes, the Civil Service Reform Act, the Whistleblower Protection Act, and the Hatch Act.

The Department of Defense: Office of the Inspector General
The OIG provides a hotline for reports of abuse or fraud. The OIG's office also investigate reprisal complaints by whistleblowers.

The Department of Labor: Office of the Whistleblower Protection Program
Many federal agencies have their own offices dedicated to whistleblower protection and online resources for reporting fraud and abuse.

Committee of Concerned Journalists
The Committee of Concerned Journalists is a consortium of journalists, publishers, owners and academics worried about the future of the profession. The Committee published best practices and guidelines and interactive tools.

The Government Accountability Project
"The Government Accountability Project (GAP) is a 30-year-old nonprofit public interest group that promotes government and corporate accountability by advancing occupational free speech, defending whistleblowers, and empowering citizen activists." GAP covers Nuclear Safety, International Reform, Corporate Accountability, Food & Drug Safety, and Federal Employee/National Security programs. Its site includes whistleblower news, a blog and information on whistleblower protection legislation.

The Project on Government Oversight
The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is an independent nonprofit that investigates and exposes corruption and other misconduct in order to achieve a more effective, accountable, open and honest federal government. The Web site includes information on ongoing programs in every government field from transportation to housing.

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER)
"PEER is a national non-profit alliance of local, state and federal scientists, law enforcement officers, land managers and other professionals dedicated to upholding environmental laws and values." Among its missions is to protect federal employees who are whistleblowers in environmental matters. The site contains a newsfeed and state by state information on whistleblower laws.
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