Of course the Department of Justice wants to use leverage to convince bad people to plead rather than go to court. It's more efficient. If a few innocent people get convinced to plead guilty rather than risk spending the next 5 lifetimes in prison, well that's their fault for pleading guilty. Justice!
If I were to consider significant whistleblowing, I'd assume the table stakes are decades in prison (or exile). Is there any way to avoid that?
The problem with whistleblowing is you're exposing corruption and wrongdoing. Corrupt, wrongdoer scumbags (like the Obama Administration and military-industrial complex) aren't known for being the best of people when dealing with their own exposure and criticism.
If you can't cope with the potential repercussions, then expose corruption as secretly as possible. It's better to come forward publicly because it adds a lot more validity to the leaked information. But, if the choice in your mind is to not do it at all or leak secretly... then leak it secretly.
That said, it depends on who you are exposing and how you acquired the info among many other factors.
Here's a guide:
How is this not double jeopardy? You can’t charge someone with manslaughter and murder for killing one person, for instance. A single act gets a single charge. Kind of a basic precept, and it’s easy enough to pile on charges for closely-related acts without having to resort to this (e.g. disturbing the peace and resisting arrest can be considered separate actions even as they happen simultaneously.)
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