April 11, 2006: A TSA whistleblower is improperly fired and accused of leaking classified information.

Robert MacLean (Credit: public domain)

Robert MacLean (Credit: public domain)

In early April 2006, TSA [Transportation Security Administration] official Robert MacLean appears on NBC News incognito to complain that the TSA is requiring sky marshals to wear suits and ties, making them easily identifiable to potential terrorists. But his identity is somehow discovered by the TSA, and he is fired on April 11, 2006.

The TSA claims he leaked “Sensitive Security Information.” However, he argues that the text message he leaked wasn’t marked as classified and was sent to sky marshals over regular phone lines.

In 2014, after years of legal battles, the US Supreme Court will rule that the Whistleblower Protection Act prevented his firing. A year later, he will be reinstated, but he says he is still fighting with the TSA.

In September 2015, he will note similarities between his case and Clinton’s email scandal, but he predicts she will have an easier time than he did. “There’s just a different standard for whistleblowers than for politicians.” (McClatchy Newspapers, 9/29/2015)