SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - The Transportation Safety Agency did not violate an air marshal’s due process rights when it disciplined him for leaking a text message to the media, the 9th Circuit ruled.
Robert McLean received a text message in late July 2003 stating that there would be no air marshals on overnight flights through Aug. 9.
McLean’s concern over safety issues led him to spread the news to the media. The Federal Air Marshal Service later determined that the text message did not reflect a final decision, and no overnight missions were cancelled.
McLean was fired for the incident more than two years later. The TSA issued an order ruling that McLean had divulged “sensitive security information.”
In a per curiam decision, the circuit judges ruled that the TSA had every right to make such an order. McLean’s rights under the Whistleblower Protection Act were not violated because the TSA’s order was not a personnel decision.
“The fact that the order has some impact on McLean’s proceedings does not convert it to a ‘personnel action,'” the judges wrote.