May 3, 2015 — ​ MacLean reinstated by the Department of Homeland Security, but the case remains in litigation.

January 27, 2014 — DHS asks the U.S. Supreme Court to consider a full review to reverse the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit's unanimous decision with a "Petition for a Writ of Certiorari"


August 30, 2013 — TEN JUDGES of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit UNANIMOUSLY reject DHS's en banc appeal​​


"was one of the most heinous leaks of information of Federal Air Marshal Service-related missions"

​"Mr. MacLean presented substantial evidence that he was not motivated by personal gain but by the desire to protect the public. He averred proof that he sought direction from his supervisors before making allegedly protected disclosures."


April 26, 2013 — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit UNANIMOUSLY rules in MacLean's favor:​


May 19, 2014 — The U.S. Supreme Court grants certiorari and will here least one hour of arguments on November 4, 2014.

July 25, 2014 — DHS files its "Briefs on the Merits" continuing to falsely suggest MacLean disclosed that only Las Vegas flights would not be protected and that he "intentionally disclosed [unclassified] 'Sensitive Security Information'"

October 2006 — MacLean appeals the TSA's August 31, 2006 retroactive "Sensitive Security Information" order to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The Ninth Circuit wrote this in its September 16, 2008 precedential ruling:

"[TSA] relied upon to retroactively designate as [SSI] MacLean's disclosure about a substantial danger to public safety...Whistleblowers should not have to guess whether information that they reasonably believe evidences waste, fraud, abuse, illegalities or public dangers might be later designated as SSI and therefore should not be disclosed ... Congress affirmatively removed the words "rule or regulation" from that part of the statute, intentionally narrowing the exception. The exception was narrowed due to concerns that the limitations in the original bills would encourage the adoption o f agency regulations against disclosure."

"TSA's release of information related to [Federal Air Marshals (FAMs)] is particularly ironic given the agency’s treatment of whistleblower and former air marshal Robert MacLean. In 2003, MacLean blew the whistle on TSA's plans to cancel FAM coverage on flights despite the threat of an imminent Al Qaeda hijacking plot. Numerous Members of Congress raised concerns, and DHS retracted the order to cancel FAM coverage, calling it 'a mistake.' Three years later, TSA retroactively labeled the information that MacLean had disclosed as SSI and fired MacLean for his disclosure."

September 1, 2009 — The TSA Office of General Counsel lawyers would surreptitiously omit key evidence in order to cancel out MacLean's "good faith belief" defense afforded to him by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit's September 16, 2008 ruling. The TSA lawyers would remove a page from its exhibits so that the judges would not see that MacLean's "it did not matter" response was directly to the TSA lawyer's question about his disclosure to a TSA supervisor and not the reporter.

November 5, 2009 — At the regional U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board hearing, the only witness allowed by administrative judge Franklin M. Kang, former Los Angeles Special Agent in Charge Frank Donzanti, would testify that not only he could never again trust MacLean he did not have the authority to take any action against him from the time he admitted to the disclosure on May 4, 2005 to the time he placed him on administrative leave on September 13, 2005 — almost five months. MacLean's attorney later reminded Donzanti that he placed another TSA whistleblower on administrative leave just days after a disclosure.

March 22, 2011 — An investigation by Nick Schwellenbach of the Project On Government Oversight, revealed that after the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board administrative judge ruled against MacLean, Donzanti was demoted twice and removed from managing all California and Hawaii Federal Air Marshals and airport law enforcement operations. He was placed in a non-supervisory position at John Wayne Airport.

July 25, 2011 — The Obama appointees of the Washington DC U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board relied on false evidence submitted by the TSA Office of General Counsel to cancel out MacLean's "good faith belief" defense.

August 25, 2011 — Obama's U.S. Special Counsel filed an unprecedented brief defying his Washington DC U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board appointees. U.S. Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner asked the Board to reverse its final decision in favor of MacLean: 

"MacLean may still contest his termination before the MSPB, where he may raise the Whistleblower Protection Act and contend that the lack of clarity of the TSA's 2003 'sensitive security information' regulations is evidence MacLean disseminated the text message under a good faith belief the information did not qualify as 'sensitive security information.'"

​June 9, 2015 — MacLean testifies before Congress about how to stop wasting money and reprioritizing TSA resources to effectively stop inflight UNRULY (assaultive or murderous) attackers and bombs.

September 29, 2014 — All other Supreme Court amicus curiae briefs in support of Robert MacLean. 

September 9, 2011 — The Obama-nominated (Susan Tsui Grundmann& Anne M. Wagner)​  and  U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board rejected U.S. Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner's request.

September 29, 2014 — The law firm (David Boies) that represented Vice President Al Gore before the Supreme Court in the 2000 Florida recount case filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of 13 military and federal senior executives. It also was in support of Robert MacLean. 

May 29, 2014 — Congressional Joint Staff Report: Chairman Darrell Issa (Republican, California) & Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (Democrat, Maryland) of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight & Government Affairs, page 17:

September 29, 2014 — The United States Office of Special Counsel files its first ever Supreme Court amicus curiae brief. It also was in support of Robert MacLean. The Washington Post story

August 1, 2014 — Due date for third parties to file amicus curiae ("friend of the court") briefs in support of DHS — NONE FILED

December 1, 2014  Former Merit Systems Protection Board Chairman Neil A. G. McPhie wrote an opinion editorial for the Federal Times changing his pro-TSA June 22, 2009 opinion NOW IN FAVOR of MacLean:

November 4, 2014 Oral argument held, LISTEN HERE. Read transcript of oral arguments HERE.


January 21, 2015  The U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of MacLean 7-2 with Chief Justice John Roberts writing for the majority. Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a dissent with Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy:


September 9, 2014 — MacLean is called to testify before Congress, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The United States Special Counsel states she intends to file an amicus with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Robert MacLean. VIDEO and The Washington Post story

December 2, 2014 Now in private practice trying to obtain paying whistleblower clients, former U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board ("MSPB") Chairman Neil A.G. McPhie changes his mind IN FAVOR of MacLean. Back in June 22, 2009, McPhie had issued a ruling AGAINST MacLean affirming the Department of Homeland Security's argument that MacLean violated the law and cannot be a whistleblower.

March 28, 2014 — MacLean's U.S. Supreme Court "Brief in Opposition" to DHS’s "Petition for a Writ of Certiorari"

February 24, 2015 — ​ Now that the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of MacLean, the full Merit Systems Protection Board ("MSPB") in Washington DC (Chairwoman Susan Tsui Grundmann and former Vice Chairwoman Anne M. Wagner who is now an Associate U.S. Special Counsel) has remanded his case to a San Francisco administrative judge for a second hearing:

September 22, 2014 — MacLean files his final brief with the Supreme Court of the United States. Los Angeles Times story

​July 30, 2015 — ​​In a speech on Capitol Hill during the annual National Whistleblower Summit, MacLean announced the Department of Homeland Security / Transportation Security Administration ( TSA ) refuses to settle and prefers to continue litigation against him before the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board. MacLean argues that if he loses to TSA, federal agencies' highest performers with the most credibility and responsibility will choose advancement over reporting wrongdoing in their agencies.

July 10, 2013 — DHS appeals the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit's April 26, 2013 decision to ten active judges on the court filing an en banc rehearing petition.

September 29, 2014 — Six Members of Congress: Senator Charles Grassley (Republican, Iowa); Senator Ron Wyden (Democrat, Oregon); Representative Darrell Issa (Republican, California), Chairman, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (OGR); Representative Elijah Cummings (Democrat, Maryland), Ranking Member, OGR; Representative Blake Farenthold (Republican, Texas.), Chair, OGR Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and the Census; and Representative Stephen Lynch (Democrat, Massachusetts), Ranking Member, OGR Federal Workforce Subcommittee file an amicus curiae ("friend of the court") brief supporting Robert MacLean. The Wall Street Journal story


November 3, 2015  As TSA refuses to settle, the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board rules MacLean is a "protected" whistleblower .


✈ ✈ ✈ TIMELINE ✈ ✈ ✈ 

September 14, 1992  MacLean is honorably discharged from the U.S. Air Force with the option to reenlist.

May 20, 1996  MacLean is sworn in as a U.S. Border Patrol Agent, San Diego Sector, California, Class Number 307.

October 13, 2001 — MacLean is selected to be in the first class of Federal Air Marshals (FAMs) to graduate after the 9/11/2001 attacks.

September 3, 2002 USA Today reports from whistleblowers that Federal Air Marshals are required to adhere to a dress code that "identifies them to terrorists"

December 23, 2001 —Las Vegas Review-Journal investigation reveals a Federal Air Marshal on MacLean's team leaves his loaded service pistol on a Washington DC flight and attempts to cover up the incident.

July 26, 2003 — Federal Air Marshals throughout the U.S. are mandated unprecedented in-office emergency suicidal Al-Qaeda hijacking training

July 29, 2003 — Transportation Security Administration (TSA) sends an unmarked, unsecured text message to ALL air marshals’ based throughout the U.S.— not just Las Vegas.

The TSA chooses to send the unlabeled text message to all

U.S. air marshals unsecured Nokia 3310 cellular phones that look like this:

instead of to their $22 million Datamaxx Group ® encrypted Palm Tungsten W smartphone system like this:

MacLean went to a supervisor and three different Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") Offices of Inspector General before the media. The TSA’s plan would violate the Aviation & Transportation Security Act of 2001, 49 U.S.C. § 44917(b):

July 30, 2003 — The TSA admits to USA Today that it made "a mistake" and cancelled its plan to break the law.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office would issue a 
2005 report about the TSA's plan. MacLean made his disclosure before August 3, 2003 plan could ever become operational. Outrage from Congress never allowed the plan to go into effect. For 59 days the TSA would leave nonstop, long distance flight unprotected — August 3, 2003 until September 30, 2003.

September 14, 2003 — 
3 (THREE) weeks after his disclosure, MacLean co-founded the air marshal chapter of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association and later began cooperating with U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee (Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, Republican Wisconsin)

September 1, 2004 — The Department of Homeland Security Inspector General discovered that TSA ran out of hotel funding for Federal Air Marshals in July 2003 due in part because of 
lavish parties and $1.4 MILLION in cash bonuses it gave to its senior executives.

September 9, 2004 — MacLean appears disguised on an 
NBC Nightly News television program about a series about what is not being done to protect the public since the September 11, 2001 attacks. MacLean is recognized by TSA management and launches an investigation despite the fact that MacLean was AGAIN blowing the whistle on TSA breaking the law, specifically the "Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004":

Thanksgiving 2004 — The enraged Federal Air Marshal Service ("FAMS") Director Thomas Quinn creates a scene in Reagan National Airport in Washington DC because air marshals are not adhering to his dress code.

May 4, 2005 — In an interview with TSA internal affairs agents, MacLean admits to being a source of the July 29, 2003 MSNBC article. He denies releasing any classified or "Sensitive Security Information" and typed into his affidavit that he has "NO REGRETS...REMORSE" for blowing the whistle on the al Qaeda plan to hijack aircrafts after the pilots routinely unlock the cockpit to sleep, eat, or use the lavatory.

For almost five months, the TSA took no action against MacLean. It does not place him on restrictive duties, it does not suspend his TOP SECRET security clearance, it does not place him on administrative leave, nor does it revoke his access to an Internet portal with numerous Federal Air Marshal schedules and seating assignments for nine months. Despite his willful admission of the July 29, 2003 disclosures.

September 13, 2005 — The TSA finally takes action against MacLean. It 
proposed his first termination for making an unauthorized television appearance, communicating with the media, and disclosing "Sensitive Security Information."  

February 27, 2006 — Nine months after admitting to the 
July 29, 
2003 MSNBC home page banner story, the TSA FINALLY denies MacLean access to Federal Air Marshal schedules.

February 28, 2006 — FAMS Director Thomas Quinn would later be forced out of office by the Republican-controlled 
U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary report and become the Vice Chairman of Datamaxx Group, the company he awarded the $22 million encrypted Palm Tungsten W cellular smartphone "paper weight" system that his office choose not to securely send the unmarked July 2003 text message to.

April 11, 2006 — 
MacLean is terminated—first time—for the single charge, "Unauthorized Disclosure of [UN-classified] Sensitive Security Information."

April 25, 2006 — In a primetime special, ABC News 20/20 airs an exclusive about the report of 
investigation by Congressman & Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner.

August 31, 2006 — The Director of the Office of Sensitive Security Information ("SSI"), Andrew Colsky, issued a "Final Order on SSI" retroactively designating 
MacLean's July 2003 disclosure as SSI, a "controlled unclassified information" label. In a May 10, 2007 article about MacLean, Colsky would later tell the Associated Press that he could not recall another instance in which SSI was retroactively applied. Eight years later, Colsky would testify before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight & Government Reform that there was "extreme pressure" from his bosses to hide "embarrassing" information by marking it with SSI. He also stated that TSA Administrator Edmund "Kip" Hawley bypassed him to publicly disclose air marshal deployment missions, but MacLean "lost his job" over same disclosures.

September 28, 2006 — Despite the fact that he took ABSOLUTELY NO ACTION against MacLean for almost FIVE MONTHS after he admitted to 
the single disclosure he was fired for — because the TSA lawyers had to invent a way to make his disclosure a TSA violation — Federal Air Marshal Service Director Thomas Quinn would play along and later testify that MacLean's disclosure: