Washington Post: High Court Protects Federal Whistleblowers in Case that Had Broad Implications
Here’s more coverage of this week’s 7-2 decision in favor of GAP client and air marshal whistleblower Robert MacLean, the first to test the Whistleblower Protection Act before the Supreme Court. The majority opinion ruled that his disclosures about a government decision to cancel air marshal service on airlines that were also under threat of a terrorist attack were not “specifically prohibited by law.” Now the case goes back to the Merit Systems Protection Board, which had ruled against MacLean.
Key Quote: “The Supreme Court victory meant Mr. MacLean is eligible for Whistleblower Protection Act coverage,” said Tom Devine, legal director of the nonprofit Government Accountability Project, which represents MacLean. “Now the MSPB must decide if he deserved it.”
That depends, Devine explained, whether the MSPB finds MacLean “reasonably believed his disclosure was evidence of a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.”
Devine and MacLean are confident the MSPB will rule in their favor this time.
Yesterday, GAP client and NSA whistleblower William Binney accepted the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence Award in Berlin, Germany. The annual award is presented to a professional who has taken a strong stand for ethics and integrity. Binney resigned from the NSA in 2001 and became a whistleblower after discovering that elements of a surveillance program he had developed were being used to spy on Americans.
Former awardees include GAP National Security & Human Rights Director Jesselyn Radack, and GAP clients/NSA whistleblowers Thomas Drake and Edward Snowden. Read GAP’s press release for more.
Key Quote: Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower who won the Sam Adams Award in 2013, joined the event via video link from Moscow, to congratulate and thank Binney. “Without Bill Binney, there would be no Edward Snowden,” he said.
Snowden spoke of the “civic duty to say something” that he felt when he saw unlawful surveillance programs in action. Programs that, as technical director of the NSA, Binney himself helped to build.
In accepting the award, Binney said that he resigned from the NSA back in 2001 after he realised the agency was “purposefully violating the Constitution” with its “bulk acquisition of data against US citizens… first against US citizens by the way, not foreigners.”