Supreme Court takes up case of federal air marshal fired after leaking security information

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court will consider the case of a federal air marshal who was fired after leaking information about aviation security plans.

The justices agreed Monday to hear an appeal from the Obama administration, which claims Robert MacLean is not entitled to whistleblower protection.

MacLean was fired after he told a reporter the government planned to suspend overnight airline trips for marshals for a month to reduce travel costs. MacLean said he leaked the information after his boss ignored his safety concerns.

Once it became public, the Transportation Security Administration said it was a mistake and no flight assignments requiring overnight hotel stays were cancelled.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that MacLean should be allowed to present a whistleblower defence. The justices will reconsider that decision.