Seven members of the Supreme court have given a rare win to a whistleblower-- a defeat of a government case the Obama Justice Department and Homeland Security have been pursuing. Not so surprisingly-- for people who have been tracking President Obama's historically horrific war on whistleblowers, his appointee, Justice Sotomayor voted, with Justice Kennedy, against the whistleblower. So much for promises of transparency. Back in 2003, the threat levels for terrorism were high. Air marshal Robert J. MacLean was shocked when he learned that two days after the Department of Homeland Security had issued a confidential advisory warning that members of al-Qaida were planning to hijack a long-distance flight, missions on overnight, long-distance flights over three and half hours were being canceled. MacLean thought it was a joke a first.
But when he realized it was true-- that to save a few bucks, Homeland Security was pulling air marshals off so many flights, he blew the whistle, after being rebuffed by his supervisor, telling a reporter. Congress responded strongly, providing the needed funding quickly.
The reporter didn't include MacLean's name but when he was discovered to have blown the whistle three years later, he was fired for his job.
A few years later I met with MacClean at a whistleblowers annual conference in Washington D.C., along with fellow Opednews.com editors Joan Brunwasser and Jim Murtagh, who have both written
among others, about MacLean's situation.
A few years later, I had Tom Devine, Legal Director of the Government Accountability Project, a whistleblower advocacy legal firm, on my radio show
. He spoke about how bad things were getting for whistleblowers, saying,
The air marshal service had run out of money because frankly they'd blown it on pork-barrel spending with the old-boys network. So in order to make up this money, they decided to cancel cross-country air marshal coverage during the middle of a hijacker alert. So one of the air marshals got the order and protested internally and was told to get lost. So he went public with it, Congress jumped on it, and it spread by wildfire. So the bureaucracy blinked and said, "Oh, we didn't mean to do that. It was a clerical mistake." You would think that the air marshal would get some sort of commendation for correcting the mistake. But no. After he stopped this fiasco, TSA (Transportation Security Administration) issued gag regulations that you can't disclose anything called "sensitive security information (SSI)," which is basically anything that the bureaucracy wants to keep secret. There are virtually no standards other than that it "undermines air security." All they have to do is have an opinion; they don't even have to be right. You can be prosecuted for revealing this SSI. The problem is, Rob, it doesn't have to be marked. You don't even know it was secret. The only way you can know whether you are crossing the line is by asking for advanced permission""the opposite of protection of free speech. -
I replied: "Sounds Orwellian."
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Tom Devine continued, "Oh, it is. It's the worst nightmare of ending free speech in this country, and it's being done in a back door fashion through these unmarked protect yourself from- TSA think will undermine air security. After Robert Maclean, the air marshal, blew the whistle, TSA issued regulations creating these new SSI. Several years later, they applied them retroactively to fire Mr. Maclean. They told him that he had exposed SSI, even though it wasn't labeled sensitive at the time. Three weeks ago, at an MSPB hearing, they told Maclean that agencies have the power/authority to cancel the WPA through internal secrecy regulations. That means that the whole law is basically guidance for a voluntary honor system by any government bureaucracy."
Seven of the nine Supreme Court justices backed up MacLean and didn't put up with the nonsense that some hack administrator could make a rule that overrode a congressionally passed law protecting whistleblowers. Sotomayor backed up the worst anti-whistleblower president in US history-- yes-- Obama has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all previous presidents combined.
People say that you vote for the lesser of two evils because of the Supreme Court, if for nothing else. Well, Sotomayor just showed the evil side of that lesser of two evils decision. There's a price to pay.
Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect,
connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media. He's given talks and workshops to Fortune
500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered
first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and
Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful
people on his Bottom Up Radio Show,
and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and
opinion sites, OpEdNews.com
more detailed bio:
Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind. Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big) to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project.
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