Dear Whistleblower Supporter:
When former federal air marshal Robert MacLean discovered that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was planning to cut costs by removing air marshals from flights – at a time during heightened intelligence warning of hijackings – he did the right thing and blew the whistle. Many senators, at the time, praised the warning and fixed the situation by calling for the TSA to correct it (which the agency did). But MacLean was fired for his disclosure, and the government board that was supposed to protect him from retaliation sided with TSA.
Now, MacLean has one last chance to appeal the ruling made by the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board. Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), and Elijah Cummings (D-MD) have submitted a friend of the court brief in defense of MacLean.
Sign the petition below to tell your Member of Congress to show support for whistleblowers by defending Maclean.
The retaliation against MacLean sets a dangerous precedent for whistleblowers who want to speak out. In his case, TSA retroactively marked his disclosure as “Sensitive Security Information” (SSI) three years after the fact, and then used that marking to retaliate against MacLean. These types of secret classifications are a concept so broad that they can be applied to any disclosure, if certain Department of Homeland Security officials decide that such an action would "be detrimental to the security of transportation.”
Really? Just like that? What this means is that whistleblowers now have to guess whether information they reasonably believe evidences waste, fraud or illegality … might later be marked secret. It doesn’t take a lot of foresight to see that TSA whistleblowers will likely choose to remain silent, at the potential cost of American lives and taxpayer dollars.
MacLean had an unblemished record of 14 years of military and federal service before he was fired. Additionally, his disclosure helped draw public scrutiny and congressional outrage to TSA's ill-conceived plan, which was rapidly scrapped.
MacLean well may have changed the course of history by restoring sanity when TSA was about to abandon American security during a heightened hijacking alert. He deserved a medal. But the bureaucracy fired him, and the Merit Board said that action is permitted by the Whistleblower Protection Act.
Robert Maclean deserves support from every American who has ever stepped foot on an airplane. Tell your Member of Congress to support MacLean by signing the petition below.
This is a joint GAP and Project On Government Oversight campaign.