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A Dead Fish, a Sinking Career and Legal Action at Homeland Security

PerchMaureen McCarthy still thinks something fishy went on and as a result, her career was derailed. Can she reel in her sinking career again?

By Jeff Stein
Spy Talk
WASHINGTON — Saying she still has no idea who sent her a box of dead fish, former top homeland security bioweapons official Maureen McCarthy says she has resigned from the department and begun legal action to clear her name.

Occasionally breaking into tears during a 45-minute telephone interview, McCarthy called her resignation “involuntary” and said she had suffered severe financial distress since being suspended without pay in February over the incident.

“I resigned against my will,” she said. “I had no income, and I couldn’t use my accrued annual leave” for cash. “By resigning I got that back,” she said, and could begin to take steps to rebuild her shattered career, starting with retrieving her security clearance, yanked by DHS in March.

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