Robert MacLean was fired from his job as a U.S. air marshall for disclosing what he saw as lapses in aviation security.

Robert MacLean was fired from his job as a U.S. air marshall for disclosing what he saw as lapses in aviation security.

*In 2003, in an attempt to save money, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)  decided to remove  all air marshals from international and overnight flights. For 59 days, the TSA would leave nonstop, long distance flights unprotected — August 3, 2003 until September 30, 2003. Air Marshall Robert McLean blew the whistle on the TSA.  McLean appeared disguised on  national news and disclosed  the TSA decision. TSA management, nonetheless, recognized McLean.  Speaking the truth can sometimes be burdensome and back-breaking.

In May 2005, McLean was  interviewed by TSA internal affairs agents and admitted that he had  disclosed information to MSNBC in 2003 and NBC in 2004.

McLean stated that initially the TSA took no action against him. Eventually, the TSA officially labeled the text message he had received of the plan to cancel air marshals on planes as “Sensitive Security Information” (after the fact) and he was fired in April 2006 for a national security breach due to “Unauthorized Disclosure of Sensitive Security Information.”

McLean subsequently spent over eight years in legal battles trying to right this wrong.  A  married, father of three, he is currently employed as a commission-only door-to-door salesperson for residential solar systems.

On Wednesday, January 21, 2015, almost a decade after his struggles began, the US Supreme Court in a 7-2 opinion  ruled in favor of  the fired  TSA  air marshal, Robert McLean,  who challenged his termination for having disclosed what he saw as lapses in aviation security.

As a retired Los Angeles Police Department sergeant who has done battle with a superpower (the LAPD); I know first-hand that the inability to provide for your family and  loss or potential loss of income is daunting.  I applaud McLean for his tenacity and the ability to stand tall.  I rejoice in the Court’s decision. Whistleblowers are rarely victorious. Those of us  who cross the blue line,  speak the truth and expose internal  hypocrisy  in an attempt to educate and inform an unwitting public  quickly discover that a super power can grind you down and wear you down. How many can financially and emotionally survive a decade-long lost career?

My hope,  as  former and retired law enforcement officers discover numbers in the ranks and strength in our resolve that each of us  will continue to speak out regarding  issues of  injustice, indignity  and inequality in our communities as it relates to manner in which police officers and police departments “protect and serve.”

Cheryl Dorsey1a

Cheryl Dorsey

Cherly Dorsey is a retired LAPD sergeant, speaker, author and much sought after police expert on important issues making national headlines, regarding abuse under the color of authority – that is, racial profiling, use of force, deadly force and women’s work place issues. Ms. Dorsey enlightens and empowers audiences with her candid and honest approach to surviving police encounters. She blogs at  Contact her via email  at [email protected]

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