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Tag: air marshal

TSA Whistleblower Reinstated After Supreme Court Defends His Actions

tsa.gov

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A TSA air marshal who was fired for telling the media about the impact on budget cuts has been reinstated after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Robert MacLean was a justified whistleblower.

The USA Today reports that MacLean, who flew undercover to thwart terrorism, told MSNBC in 2003 that the TSA was reducing the number of marshals on overnight flights, a plan that drew harsh criticism from Congress.

Even though TSA reversed its decision, MacLean was terminated for disclosing “sensitive security information.”

In arriving at the ruling, the justices said whistle-blower protections in this case trumped bans on disclosing sensitive information.

The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in MacLean’s favor.

Other Stories of Interest


Supreme Court to Decide When Federal Employees Can Blow Whistle to the Media

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

When is a federal whistleblower allowed to release sensitive information to the public?

That’s the question before the Supreme Court, which must decide whether a federal air marshal was unfairly fired for blowing the whistle to the media about a security plan that he disliked, the Washington Post reports.

Robert J. MacLean, who was an air marshal in 2003, went to the media after his boss told him to be quiet about budget shortfalls requiring the agency to cut back on overnight trips for undercover air marshals.

After MSNBC began asking questions, Homeland Security canceled the cutbacks and called them “premature and a mistake.”
MacLean, who was fired in 2006, argued that he was protected by whistleblower laws. The U.S. Court of Appeals agreed.

“Robert MacLean was a federal air marshal who spoke up about the consequences of a dangerous and possibly unlawful government decision,” wrote Washington lawyer and former deputy solicitor general Neal Katyal.

“Because he blew the whistle, the government changed policy and a potential tragedy was averted. But Mr. MacLean paid a hefty price.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Homeland Security Is Shedding Air Marshal Jobs Because of Deep Budget Cuts

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Budget cuts have forced Homeland Security to reduce the number of Federal Air Marshals whose job is to protect aircrafts from terrorists, CNN reports, citing internal emails.

The department declined to say how many marshals the department has lost in the past three years.

Critics blasted the department for its secrecy surrounding the issue.

It’s believed that the agency had about 3,500 air marshals about two years ago.

Air Marshal Director Robert Bray said the agency’s budget has been slashed from $966 to $806 million over the past three years.