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Tag: Maureen McCarthy

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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A Dead Fish, A Homeland Security Official and a Leave of Absence

The lesson here is: Don’t bring a dead fish to work if it arrives in the mail from an anonymous sender, particularly when it comes with white powder. Then again, maybe it’s just good policy not to bring a dead fish to work. Period!

By Jeff Stein
Spytalk
WASHINGTON –It looks like Maureen McCarthy is dead in the water, at least for the moment.

McCarthy, the DHS bioweapons official who caused a minor sensation earlier this month when she brought a mystery fish and white powder to her downtown office, is “on leave for awhile,” according to a woman answering the phone in her office today.

Asked when she might return, the woman in her office, who did not identify herself, said, “We really don’t know.”

Two other sources familiar with the situation confirmed that McCarthy is on an indefinite leave, with pay.

The fish and unidentified powder had been sent anonymously to the home of McCarthy, who holds a PhD in chemical physics, in early February. She told DHS officials she put the fish and powder into the freezer overnight and brought it to work in the trunk of her car the next morning on the advice of the private security company at her building, according to news reports.
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