Washington, D.C.  January 21, 2015.  Today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that former Air Marshall Robert MacLean was not “specifically prohibited by law” from disclosing information to the press about TSA’s plan to cutback on the number of air marshals during a terrorist alert.  Such a disclosure was against agency regulations.

The Whistleblower Protection Act prohibits individuals in positions of authority from taking a “personnel action” against a government employee when the employee makes a disclosure, which the employee reasonable believes to evidence a “substantial and specific danger to public health and safety, if such disclosure is not specifically prohibited by law.”    
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Yesterday the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Department of Homeland Security v. MacLean.  This case arises under the Whistleblower Protection Act. The Whistleblower Protection Act prohibits individuals in positions of authority from taking a “personnel action” against a government employee when the employee makes a disclosure, which the employee reasonable believes to evidence a “substantial and specific danger to public health and safety, if such disclosure is not specifically prohibited by law.”  The issue before the Court is when a federal statute bars whistleblower from making disclosures that are “specifically prohibited by law,” does this bar also apply to disclosures prohibited by agency regulations?

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An administrative judge at the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) upheld the illegal termination of former federal air marshal Robert MacLean. Mr. MacLean blew the whistle on the Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Agency’s (TSA) plan to improperly remove U.S. air marshals from long distance flights during a heightened terrorist alert. The TSA subsequently fired Mr. MacLean in flagrant violation of the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA). To justify the decision to terminate Mr. MacLean, TSA retroactively labeled his disclosure as Sensitive Security Information. Ever since he was terminated, Mr. MacLean has been fighting for his reinstatement.
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Amanda Schroeder, AFGEHundreds of Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) and their allies rallied today in Washington for the right of these federal employees to have union recognition. Union leaders remembered that many union members gave their lives in the rescue efforts on 9/11, took down the shooter at Ft. Hood, and defend our security every day as pilots

Congress must enact real whistleblower protections

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced today that it has entered into agreements with the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) and Office of Special Counsel (OSC) to permit TSA employees to appeal whistleblower complaints to the MSPB.

These so-called “enhanced” whistleblower protections for TSA employees are completely illusory and