Air Marshal Whistleblower Case Headed to Supreme Court
The Federal Government has petitioned the Supreme Court to reverse the Appeals court decision in favor of Robert MacLean, a former air marshal fired in 2006 for leaking information to MSNBC. Mr. MacLean was fired by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) when he leaked to MSNBC that TSA had suspended air marshal service on coast-to-coast and international flights for a full week during a time they had knowledge of a “potential plot” to hijack a U.S. Airliner.
Last year, the Court of Appeals sided with MacLean stating that the whistleblower statute is designed to protect people when they seek to leak information they reasonably believe to be a “violation of any law” or a “substantial and specific danger to public health and safety”. The court agrees MacLean’s fear for the safety of the public due to lax security during a time of a potential hijack plot was a reasonable belief that is protected under the Whistleblower Protection Act.
However, the U.S. argues that a specific regulation prohibits these types of leaks based on the danger to National Security. The Court struck down this argument because the Whistleblower Protection Act, a federal statute, has supremacy status over the regulation the U.S. was citing. The U.S. government hopes to have the case heard by the Supreme Court to overturn the decision and decide once and for all the relationship between a National Security Regulations and the Whistleblower Protection Act. (VNN – Addison Naugle) (Image: Flickr | Mark Fischer)