U.S. Justice Antonin Scalia: “And [MacLean] was successful...[TSA] called off the [long distance, nonstop flight] cancellations.”
Before he beat President Barack Obama’s appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court and obtained legal whistleblower protection status from the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), Federal Air Marshal (FAM) Robert MacLean stopped the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) from violating law and forced it to deploy FAMs onto terrorist-targeted nonstop, long distance flights—like those attacked on 9/11. Suicidal hijackers plotted to exploit State Department visa and TSA security screening loopholes. The day after MacLean’s July 29, 2003 disclosures, numerous bipartisan members of Congress protested. Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley and Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson would support MacLean before the Supreme Court and in a subsequent Senate hearing, respectively. Congress blasted TSA's inane cost-savings plan devised due to wasting $1.4 million on senior executive bonuses. MacLean also reversed dangerous grooming standards, dress codes, and boarding procedures that compromised the identity of FAMs. Despite MacLean successfully fixing these security lapses, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff fired him on April 10, 2006.
UPDATE January 8, 2017: USA Today and Government Executive Magazine reported a supervisor asserting in writing that TSA was criminally violating 18 U.S.C. § 1513(e) given the level of fresh retaliation against MacLean. TSA is now bankrupting him and is “engaged in vigorous, vicious, sustained, unrepentant and politically motivated efforts to wreck his career.”
Last August, seven Democratic and Republican members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives reject TSA’s response to inquiries made by Senator Claire McCaskill VIDEO and the House Committee on Government Oversight and Government Reform VIDEO regarding the costly taxpayer-paid litigation against MacLean and take advantage of an overburdened U.S. Office of Special Counsel and MSPB—the MSPB issued a final ruling declaring MacLean is a protected whistleblower. TSA now wants to set the reckless precedent by arguing he does not deserve any lost promotions, despite having a spotless and “exemplary" record—as stated under oath by his terminating official and TSA’s only MSPB hearing witness. If TSA beats MacLean, the highest performing federal employees with the most credibility and responsibility will choose advancement over reporting wrongdoing within their agencies.