(Washington, DC) – Government Accountability Project (GAP) client Robert MacLean, a noted whistleblower who exposed critical safety lapses in the Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS), is available to speak with members of the media following today’s hearing by the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security. The hearing, “Last Line of Defense: the Federal Air Marshal Service 10 Years After 9/11,” is scheduled to take place today at 2 p.m. in 311 Cannon House Office Building. More information can be found here.

Unfortunately, the hearing may not be open to the public, as the committee website states “Due to the nature of the information at this hearing, the Subcommittee may move to close the hearing and transition to HVC-302 to receive classified testimony.”

In 2003, then-Federal Air Marshal MacLean discovered that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was planning to cut costs by removing air marshals from flights – at a time during heightened intelligence warnings of hijackings. MacLean exposed this threat, and several members of Congress praised the warning and called for the TSA to correct it (which the agency did). But MacLean was fired three years later, when the TSA retroactively marked his disclosure as “Sensitive Security Information” (SSI), using this designation to justify his dismissal.

Currently, MacLean is appealing a ruling made by the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board in his case. Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) plan to submit a friend-of-the-court brief in defense of MacLean, and GAP, along with the Project On Government Oversight, has started citizen petitions on his behalf.

The hearing comes shortly after the public release of a report following a 21-month investigation by the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General, focusing on alleged misconduct within the TSA and FAMS. That report, according to Legal Director Tom Devine (MacLean’s counsel), “confirms a perceived pattern of retaliation against air marshals who challenge security breaches.”

“The report’s revelation that half of the air marshals are too afraid to report wrongdoing is a direct result of the TSA’s successful campaign to silence truth-tellers,” said MacLean. “Congress and the public should be disturbed that so many armed anti-terrorism agents are too frightened to come forward about wrongdoing.”

Stated Devine, “Robert MacLean took courageous action by successfully blowing the whistle and foiling government plans to abandon the flying public during a confirmed, more ambitious 9/11 re-run. But he was fired for disrupting government control of resources when the resulting political outcry forced restoration of protection for air travelers, and for violating agency secrecy regulations that canceled free speech rights enacted by Congress.”

To request speaking with either MacLean or Devine, please contact GAP Communications Director Dylan Blaylock at [email protected]

Contact: Tom Devine, GAP Legal Director
Phone: 202.457.0034, ext. 124
Email: [email protected]

Contact: Dylan Blaylock, Communications Director
Phone: 202.457.0034, ext. 137, 202.236.3733 (cell)
Email: [email protected]

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 non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.