This Sunday’s Washington Post featured an article that details Bradley Birkenfeld’s actions as a whistleblower, and how those actions landed him in federal prison. The article discusses the contradictory messages sent to potential whistleblowers by the U.S. government:
Continue Reading Swiss Banker Turned Whistleblower Ended Up With a Prison Sentence

On October 14, the Washington Post ran a story on Metro drivers going “Strictly by the Book” (p. B-1). The story highlights safety issues that reach beyond Metro. That the Post’s writer would be concerned about the disruption reveals a prevalent but dangerous attitude that speed is more important than safety.

As an advocate for whistleblowers, I am particularly concerned that the bus drivers speaking to the reporter were afraid of retaliation. The National Transit Systems Security Act of 2007 (NTSSA) has given every transit system employee the right to put safety first, to bypass the chain of command, and to disobey unsafe or illegal orders. Under NTSSA, every Metro employee has legal protection if they choose to speak to a newspaper about safety concerns. They would be protected if they follow safety rules and run “late” as a result.
Continue Reading Comment on Metro safety, the STAA and the Washington Post

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Robert MacLean is a former federal air marshal. During the Summer of 2003, he exposed a plan by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to stop all overnight travel by the air marshals to save money on the budget.  This shutdown of air marshal travel came at the same time that the Department of Homeland Security was reporting an active al-Qaeda suicide hijack plan.  MacLean’s courageous disclosure prompted Congressional and public outrage.  In response, TSA reversed its decision, continued air marshal travel, and fired MacLean for making the disclosure.  MacLean also raised concerns about how TSA’s dress code for air marshals made them easy for terrorists to identify.

Yesterday, a House committee heard testimony from the Director of the Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS), Robert Bray.  Bray told Congressman Bill Pascrell (New Jersey) that it was a problem that his predecessors ignored whistleblower complaints of safety and security problems.  The old management forced the whistleblowers to go to the media. Rep. Pascrell insisted that the TSA should give MacLean and others their jobs back: “pure and simple.”

Joe Davidson reports in today’s Washington Post that Pascrell showed concern about MacLean’s case. MacLean is “still twisting in the wind,” Pascrell told Davidson. “I think it’s very unfair.”

MacLean has posted seven (7) minutes of excerpts of the hearing on YouTube.


Continue Reading FAMS Director supports aviation security whistleblowing