(Washington, DC) – Today, after an 8 1/2 year legal ordeal, federal air marshal whistleblower and GAP client Robert MacLean won a Supreme Court decision that his disclosures in 2003 were covered by the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA). He publicly warned that the Department of Homeland Security planned to abandon air marshal service on U.S. airlines targeted for an ambitious overseas terrorist attack. The key legal issue was whether the law’s statutory free speech rights can be canceled by agency secrecy regulations.
GAP Legal Director Tom Devine, MacLean’s attorney since 2010, commented:
In the Supreme Court’s first case testing the Whistleblower Protection Act, freedom of speech won with an exclamation point. Federal air marshal whistleblower Robert MacLean’s 7-2 victory means that, after defending his rights for more than eight years, he will have a chance to achieve justice. The only issue left is whether MacLean was reasonable to believe that the government’s decision to remove air marshals from targeted flights endangered the public. The Department of Homeland Security had planned to go AWOL in the face of a more ambitious rerun of 9/11. The ruling is a historic victory for the right of individuals to make a difference through freedom of speech.
Contact: Andrew Harman, GAP Communications Director
Phone: 202.457.0034 ext. 156
Government Accountability Project
The Government Accountability Project is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, GAP’s mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, GAP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.